The Visitor

2016 Visitor Survey Results

Visit County Durham has been tracking the visitor profile for the county since 2007. 1100 face to face interviews were conducted at 20 locations throughout the County for the 2016 study. The research examines all aspects of the visitor journey to understand what motivates, satisfies and disappoints our visitors. Previous visitor surveys were conducted in 2007, 2010 and 2013 and they allow historical data to be collated and compared across a wide range of visitor related issues.

Key findings from the 2016 study include:


  • A growth in the number of couples travelling to Durham
  • 1 in 5 visitors are visiting for the first time
  • Strong local audience, providing opportunities for local ambassadors
  • Growth in retail and food as drivers for visits
  • Visitors are keen to see outdoor pursuits developed in rural areas
  • Visitors would like to see more retail and family friendly activities in the city
  • Word of mouth (16%) and previous trips (61%) heavily influence visitor on choosing Durham. If we get the product right, visitors will return and they will promote the destination for us by word of mouth
  • In comparison to 2013, visitors are 12% less likely to book in the week prior to their visit, but 11% more likely to book 1-3 months prior to their visit
  • 35% of visitors are now booking on line, whereas the number of those booking by telephone has dropped from 34% in 2013 to 20% in 2016
  • Satisfaction is high particularly in quality of attractions
  • Customer service in tourism facilities is regarded as high
  • Durham is perceived as ‘better than expected’ for almost half of visitors, but only ‘as expected’ by 53%. Destinations should always strive to exceed expectations in a very competitive market.


Segmentation – visitor target groups 

3 key markets for Durham
1. Country-loving Traditionalists – “Empty-nesters seeking a traditional rural break. Love unspoilt countryside, walking and visiting heritage attractions – and sampling local food and produce”. Moderate spenders but current high volume.

2. Fun In The Sun – “Beach-loving families with kids in tow. Travel in-season and prefer outdoor activities”. Low spenders but moderate current volume.

3. Aspirational Family Fun – “High-income and often London-based families who can afford to try a wide range of activities – and take more holidays than the other segments”. High spenders and moderate current volume. 



Should you have any questions about the survey, you can contact:
Lucy Wearne on 03000 261225 or lucy, (Monday to Wednesday only) 

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