Oxford and tourism

Oxford is a small city located in the south East of England with a population of 135 000 people. It is the home to the oldest English university, Oxford University. This is made up by 40 colleges that house 30 000 students. In addition, five park and rides run to the city centre. These are situated at pear tree, Water Eaton, Thornhill, Redbridge and Seacourt. Oxford’s main source of income is in the tourist industry. Oxford is an all year round tourist attraction with over 2 million tourists visiting each year. There are a number of tourist attractions many belonging to the university and colleges.

Bodleian library and the Radcliffe camera. In addition, oxford contains many museums and gallerias for instance Britain’s oldest museum the Ashmolean and the museum of modern art. Lastly, tourists can enjoy punting on the river Thames that is called the river Isis in Oxford.

The definition of a tourist is “A traveller who visits places, for more than one day, for pleasure, work or visiting friends or family”. However, this can cause many disadvantages to the local residents. A disadvantage means something that makes a situation worse, This could be stuff such as crowding and crime. Nevertheless, tourism may bring benefits to the local community. The definition for benefit is “something that has a good effect”, This could be stuff such as jobs and money.

The purpose of the investigation is: “Does tourism bring more benefits or disadvantages to Oxford?” To answer the question I will look at three main areas. The social benefits are: Tourism provides many job opportunities such as jobs in hotels and city tours. The disadvantage is, these types of jobs are low paid and provide few career opportunities. Tourism has given Oxford world-renowned fame and as a result, Oxford has been used as a location in many films including: three of the Harry Potters and The Oxford Murders.

However, this has meant streets and buildings have to close down during filming. The second area that I will look at is the economic industry. The benefit is tourists spend a lot of money. Nevertheless, locals believe there are too many tourist shops for instance Covered Market is targeted at tourists. I know this because there have been complainants to the local council. The effect of this is increased tension between tourists and residents. The third area that I will look at is the environment. The environmental advantage is the city council gets a lot of parking revenue to subsidise the transport industry, but the buses and tourist coaches create a lot of pollution. I will investigate other social, economic and environmental issues to answer the research question: “Does tourism bring more benefits or disadvantages to oxford?”

This is the list of things I did on the field trip and the order I did them in to answer the research questions was:

1. Residents answered questionnaires

2. Tourists answered questionnaires

3. Did a bi-polar pedestrian count

4. Did a pedestrian density survey

5. Collected oxford city tourism leaflets



Graph 1:

How long have you lived in Oxford?

This graph shows me that 80% of the residents that completed the questionnaire have lived in Oxford for more than five years. This implies that I will have more trust in the data because the residents have experience with tourists; therefore, I can rely on this data. In addition, it shows that 16% have lived in Oxford for 2-5 years and 4% have lived less than a year. This data is not as reliable as the residents who have lived for over five years but it may be useful to have a fresher opinion.

Graph 2:

How often do you come into Oxford city centre?

Graph 2 shows me how often people go into the city centre. This question was asked so we can have more trust in the data because the investigation is predominately set in the city centre. It states that 33% of the residents interviewed go into town at least once a week. This implies they will have even greater experience with tourists of which 12% go everyday. Therefore, we can trust the data even more. However, it also shows 32% only go into town every two weeks. Further more 35% go less often than two weeks. This means the residents interviewed would have had few encounters with tourists. This suggests 67% have little experience with tourist. Therefore, I must be careful when writing my evaluation and conclusion.

Graph 3:

At which time of the year do you think there are more tourists?

* Winter

* Spring



* Always busy

This graph shows at what time tourism is at is peak according to the residents surveyed. Firstly only 12 residents thought tourism was at is peak in the spring autumn and winter months. 51% reckon tourism is at is peak during summer. However, 37% feel tourism is high all year round. This could be because Oxford does not rely on seasons like a seaside town for tourism; Oxford is an all year tourist attraction.

Graph 4:

Have you ever experienced problems with tourists?

This question was asked to see if tourists cause any trouble to local residents. The graph shows only 7% of residents have experienced problems with tourists. However, six of the seven people who had problems with tourists were whilst they were at work. Further more 81% of the residents that were interviewed have never encountered problems with tourists. This suggests tourists are well behaved and respect the local community. In addition, tourism does not create any social disadvantages for residents.

Graph 5:

Do you come into direct contact with tourists? IE at work

This question was asked to see how many people come into contact with tourists so they may have better and more accurate answers to the questions. However, only eight people come into direct contact with tourists. However, as graph 1 shows 80% of the residents interviewed have lived in Oxford for five years or more, this balances out the lack of regular contact or direct with tourists.

Graph 6:

What do you think are the benefits of tourism in Oxford?

This is one of the most important questions because it directly answers part of the research question. The graph shows that 66% of the residents asked believe that the biggest benefit is the money brought in by tourists. This suggests tourists are improving the economy of Oxford because they are spending their money in Oxford. However work is only 19%. This could mean very few jobs are being created by tourism. This could be because the only jobs that involve tourists are a city tour jobs or shop work. In addition only 15% reckon reputation of Oxford is increasing therefore the city may stop appealing to tourists.

Graph 7:

What do you think are the disadvantages of tourism in Oxford?

This shows me that residents believe tourists cause a variety of problems. The biggest problem residents belie is road congestion. This is a state of overcrowding in a street or on the road, making movement slow or difficult. The second biggest is litter with 29%. This suggests residents think tourists are making Oxford dirty by throwing waste packaging. Thirdly noise pollution with 22%. This usually happens when their is a group of tourists talking. Lastly 14% of residents believe pollution is big problem. This could be due extra buses needed and tourist coaches. However only 2% thought crime was occurred so this implies tourists do not behave badly or cause problem to the community.

Graph 8:

Do you think there is enough for tourists to do in Oxford?

This graph shows whether residents believe tourists have enough to do in Oxford. It shows that 77 people believe there is plenty for tourists to do in Oxford. However 23 people do not believe there is enough for tourists to do. This could be because they don’t go to the city centre regularly or it is there general opinion.

Graph 9:

Do you think the number of tourists is…?

This graph shows that many people have a negative attitude to tourism because 62% believe their are too many tourists. In contrast only 4% think the amount of tourists is to few. Further more 34% reckon the number of tourists is just about right. But with the likely hood of an increases in tourists their view will be quickly changed too. This implies the residents would like tourist sizes to decrease.

Graph 10:

Do you think tourism contributes to city centre pollution?

This graph shows whether residents believe tourism causes city centre pollution. This graph shows that 89% of the residents interviewed believe tourism does contribute to city centre pollution. This pollution could be fumes from tourist coaches and buses or litter and noise pollution.

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