The Royal Family and Tourism (Can We Stop Lying For Them?)

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funeralxempire
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20 Sep 2022, 11:01 am

It is often claimed that the royal family's expenses are paid via the tourism pounds they generate. This standard piece of "wisdom" is simply untrue.

Article 1

Quote:
CLAIM

“Just in terms of the tourism generated by events such as the Jubilee, the monarchy pays its way” – standard defence of the royals.
DOORSTEP ANSWER

Britain only ranks 10th in the global tourism stakes and the majority of UK visitor attractions have nothing to do with the monarchy.
THE MONARCHY AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION

There is some proof that royal events stimulate tourism. For instance, the Royal Collection Trust, which manages public exhibitions staged in royal residences, reported that in 2017-18 some 1.48 million people visited Windsor Castle, yielding a million-pound increase (from £6m to £7m) in revenue, largely as a result of the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

In April 2011, when Price William married Kate Middleton, an additional 600,000 visitors came to London, 40% from abroad, resulting in an extra expenditure in the capital of £107m (source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions). The Office for National Statistics also reported that April 2011 saw UK visitor numbers jump by 350,000 over the previous year, a fact attributed to the wedding.
BIGGEST VISITOR ATTRACTIONS

On the other hand, the biggest visitor attractions in the UK are not the royal palaces. And royal weddings are episodic events which hardly form the basis for a sustainable tourism industry. In 2019 (pre-Covid) the biggest visitor attractions in the UK were the Tate Gallery, the British Museum, and the National Gallery – each with more than 5m visitors. In Scotland, the National Museum in Edinburgh clocked up 2.2m visitors. Even Chester Zoo got 2m – many more than Windsor Castle. The biggest draw in recent times was the London Olympics, which attracted some two million visitors over several weeks, dwarfing the one-day wedding of Kate Middleton.

In fact, the UK (even with its monarchy) comes only 10th in the international tourism stakes, measured by visitor numbers. France comes top, with 89m visitors pre-Covid compared to the UK’s 39m. Spain clocks up 83m, Italy 62m, Turkey 46m and even Germany gets more than the UK. This might suggest that in terms of a financial return, precious investment funds might be channelled into better tourist infrastructure in Britain rather than the royal family per se.
HOW IS THE MONARCHY FINANCED?

There is also the question of whether any visitor impact from the monarchy is actually cost-effective. Public funding arrangements for the monarchy were changed by the Conservative-Liberal government in 2012, when a variety of existing payments were replaced by a single, consolidated “Sovereign Grant”. This was originally set at 15% of profits from the Crown Estate.

The Crown Estate is a property portfolio (including retail parks, shopping centres and offshore wind farms) currently worth around £14bn. It belongs to the monarch but is administered by semi-independent commissioners.

The revenues go largely to the UK Treasury, in return for the monarch being exempt from taxation (though the Queen voluntarily pays income tax on her other assets). The current chief commissioner is a director of Lloyds Bank, which some consider a possible conflict of interest.

Recently, the Sovereign Grant was increased to 25% of Crown Estate profits, purportedly to finance the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace. The Sovereign Grant for 2021-22 is £86.3m. It is only fair to note that the majority of expenditure goes on property maintenance.

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Article 2: Tourism - Republic

Quote:
...there’s VisitBritain's claim, which has been debunked. In November 2010 William and Kate announced their wedding, which would be held the following year. VisitBritain responded by claiming that the event will be great for tourism. In their press statements they said the monarchy generates £500m a year in tourism revenue.

That simply isn’t true. And VisitBritain should have known it wasn’t true.

At the time Republic sent them a Freedom of Information request , asking for any internal documents relating to their press release. They sent us a memo from their research department to their press office pointing out that they had no evidence that the economy would be helped by a royal wedding.

Quite the opposite in fact. Their statistics showed that in 1981 and 1986, the years of the last two big royal weddings, tourism revenue fell.

We then took a closer look at that £500m figure VisitBritain had put out. To get to that figure they added up the revenue of every single ticketed visitor attraction that had even the slightest connection to royalty past or present. There was no evidence provided to suggest any of that revenue was because of the monarchy, rather than an interest in history or the merits of the individual attractions.

VisitBritain stopped using the figure, but the £500m still does the rounds, being endlessly repeated as fact by journalists, businesses and fact checkers.

Image

It’s worth also pointing out that while £500m might sound a lot it’s a tiny figure when compared to total GDP and Britain’s tourism industry. It’s actually smaller than the margin of error for calculating GDP, so even if it were lost to the economy the country wouldn’t notice.

That figure:

only represents 0.01% of the UK’s economy
just 0.3% of income from Britain’s tourism industry
1.9% of the UK’s heritage tourism.

So even when attracting people to the UK for our history and heritage the royals just don’t make any difference.

In 2018 Republic sent another freedom of information request to VisitBritain asking for any data or research they might have that showed the impact of the monarchy on tourism. They couldn’t provide any.

Yet the tourism line keeps getting repeated even while it’s admitted there is no evidence.

According to figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions and the royal household’s own figures for their residences, Buckingham Palace is at best the 69th most popular attraction in the UK, Windsor Castle does better but is still only at number 18, behind Chester Zoo, Somerset House, Edinburgh Castle and the Botanic Gardens in Kew.

Kensington palace, which attracts visitors most of the year, comes in at 68 on the ALVA list. The Tower of London on the other hand is the 9th most popular destination in the UK and the royals haven’t lived there or had much connection with it for centuries.

Palaces and castles attract interest because of their history, not because of today’s royals. Get rid of the monarchy and Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle can be fully opened up to tourists all year, funding their own upkeep through ticket sales and offering a unique glimpse into Britain’s past.

Buckingham Palace is thought to contain one of the largest and most valuable art collections in the world, including the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings - yet it’s all hidden away. The palace has the potential in a republic to become a world class museum and gallery open all year round.


Claims that the monarchy pays for itself appear to be entirely pulled from the backsides of those who wish to continue the institution. It would be nice if these claims could stop being passed around as though they possess any credibility when they demonstrably lack all credibility.


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Mikah
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20 Sep 2022, 11:58 am

I don't know about tourism, but there is always the Crown Estate, which is managed profitably by government and from which the monarch receives a generous income to live on. In that regard they definitely do pay for themselves - unless in wanting to get rid of the monarchy you also want to seize all of their property too and have them living in council houses?


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funeralxempire
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20 Sep 2022, 12:12 pm

Mikah wrote:
I don't know about tourism, but there is always the Crown Estate, which is managed profitably by government and from which the monarch receives a generous income to live on. In that regard they definitely do pay for themselves - unless in wanting to get rid of the monarchy you also want to seize all of their property too and have them living in council houses?


If the legal understanding of the Crown is the same between Canada and the UK, Crown Lands are state lands not the private property of the person who wears the crown. The Crown is synonymous with the state in that and similar contexts.

This issue has been brought up to try to insist that treaties between First Nations and The Crown would no longer be applicable but with the above understanding it's not a concern.

If the state already owns them it would make sense that without the office that entitles them to live in those properties that the members of the formerly royal family would need to find housing for themselves like regular plebs, given that they'd be nothing more than regular plebs.


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Mikah
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20 Sep 2022, 12:24 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
If the legal understanding of the Crown is the same between Canada and the UK, Crown Lands are state lands not the private property of the person who wears the crown. The Crown is synonymous with the state in that and similar contexts.

This issue has been brought up to try to insist that treaties between First Nations and The Crown would no longer be applicable but with the above understanding it's not a concern.

If the state already owns them it would make sense that without the office that entitles them to live in those properties that the members of the formerly royal family would need to find housing for themselves like regular plebs, given that they'd be nothing more than regular plebs.


I suspect Crown Lands in Canada and the Crown Estate in the UK are different things. I don't know enough about either arrangement to say much, but from what I understand the management of the Crown Estate in the UK is an arrangement that requires the monarch's ongoing permission to renew - the property reverts back into his private ownership if the (angry and deposed former) King wishes it so.


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funeralxempire
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20 Sep 2022, 12:32 pm

Mikah wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
If the legal understanding of the Crown is the same between Canada and the UK, Crown Lands are state lands not the private property of the person who wears the crown. The Crown is synonymous with the state in that and similar contexts.

This issue has been brought up to try to insist that treaties between First Nations and The Crown would no longer be applicable but with the above understanding it's not a concern.

If the state already owns them it would make sense that without the office that entitles them to live in those properties that the members of the formerly royal family would need to find housing for themselves like regular plebs, given that they'd be nothing more than regular plebs.


I suspect Crown Lands in Canada and the Crown Estate in the UK are different things. I don't know enough about either arrangement to say much, but from what I understand the management of the Crown Estate in the UK is an arrangement that requires the monarch's ongoing permission to renew - the property reverts back into his private ownership if the (angry and deposed former) King wishes it so.


It seems like the sort of matter that would need addressing, but not one that's make or break for whether or not a monarchy should exist.

It seems as though the state and the royal family would require negotiations to determine who owns what and who owes who for what. Upkeep for land might be an agreeable arrangement. Personally, I'm not too interested in what their housing situation would look like, that's a minor consideration in the overall picture.


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Mikah
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20 Sep 2022, 1:39 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
It seems like the sort of matter that would need addressing, but not one that's make or break for whether or not a monarchy should exist.


Yeah I think pretty much the same regarding the money argument as a whole for abolishing the crown, but alas, the argument is often raised by both sides.

It's not like the money would go back to the people anyway.


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funeralxempire
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20 Sep 2022, 3:08 pm

Mikah wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
It seems like the sort of matter that would need addressing, but not one that's make or break for whether or not a monarchy should exist.


Yeah I think pretty much the same regarding the money argument as a whole for abolishing the crown, but alas, the argument is often raised by both sides.

It's not like the money would go back to the people anyway.


I'd imagine it would to a similar extent it does today, all except for the cut given to the royals might be reduced. A lot of the fiscal breakdown would be tied to how decisions related to land ownership breakdown.

I think the worst case (in terms of any general benefit) would be if they're all interpreted as private property of the current reigning monarch, but that is contrary to most interpretations of the crown that I'm familiar with.

It would be kind of ironic if Charles III ended up in court arguing over where his rights begin and end.


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blitzkrieg
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21 Nov 2022, 9:54 am

I think a lot of people are skeptical about the Royal Family, but then there are a lot of other people who still want to retain the institution and those people will always peddle propaganda that is pro-monarchy.



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21 Nov 2022, 10:45 am

I once said there that it was like paying for the welfare when I discovered taxes pay all their bills. They pay nothing to live there.


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21 Nov 2022, 11:10 am

Some people on "welfare" were taxpayers themselves before they went on "welfare."



blitzkrieg
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21 Nov 2022, 5:16 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Some people on "welfare" were taxpayers themselves before they went on "welfare."


Yeah, it is best not to stereotype welfare recipients.



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23 Nov 2022, 11:30 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Some people on "welfare" were taxpayers themselves before they went on "welfare."


So... maybe those people would be comparable to people who marry in to the royal family instead of having being born in to it? :lol: