Churches: Tourism

Church Commissioners written question – answered on 3rd July 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England has taken to promote tourism to its churches and cathedrals.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Chair, Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill Committee

The Church of England welcomes the Government’s new Tourism Sector Deal, which encompasses all our churches and cathedrals and will give a significant boost to our cultural heritage. Cathedrals in England attract over 10 million visitors a year, the majority as tourists.

The Church supports the work of the Churches Visitor and Tourism Association on several initiatives that help the public learn more about their local churches:

  • The Explore Churches website run by the National Churches Trust provides a single online gateway for anyone wanting to visit churches, whether as a tourist or a pilgrim.
  • The Church Heritage Record provides geo-located data on every Church of England church, including information on the history of the building where it is available. Local congregations are encouraged to add details of their church to this and to A Church Near You, to help people planning visits.

The Church of England also supports the Cathedrals Marketing and Communications Network to share best practice and coordinate national campaigns. Individual cathedrals encourage visitors through hosting special exhibitions, such as Luke Jerram’s Gaia, currently at Liverpool Cathedral, and Tim Peake’s space capsule, which was visited by over 170,000 people when on display at Peterborough Cathedral as part of a national tour.

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