The terms ‘tourism’ and the ‘visitor economy’ are often used to mean the same thing but there are subtle differences. Tourism is well defined and the UN World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) definition follows. The visitor economy is a phrase used primarily in the UK and is a means of describing the very real wider economic benefit of tourism and visitor traffic.

‘Tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.’

The ‘visitor economy’ defines the economic benefit of tourism and visitor expenditure not only for the industry directly related to tourism but in a much wider sense. ‘Visitors’ by this definition can be day visitors/local residents or visitors from further afield who stay for a night or longer.