25th January 2011
THE VALUE OF GOOD ZOOS
ZOOS and aquariums are making a dynamic contribution to the UK’s economy, according to a ground-breaking new report.
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) have just published An Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Zoo and Aquarium Sector, which shows that its member zoos and aquariums contribute about £645m a year to the economy.
Figures from the report show that as well as being a significant tourism attraction with spending by tourists in zoos of some £246m and spending off-site in the region of £198m, BIAZA zoos and aquariums generate some 11,007 jobs.
The report prepared for BIAZA by John Regan Associates, a company that specialises in finding external funding for zoos and aquariums, was commissioned by BIAZA in order to provide an indication of the value of its membership to the economy.
Its results are intended to be used to engage current and potential partners, particularly in the public sector as a means of stimulating economic activity.
Dr Miranda Stevenson, Director of BIAZA, said: “Zoos and aquariums have a great deal of potential which is not being exploited by the government. They are not only a significant tourist attraction, but are of great conservational, educational and economic value in terms of local economic development and wealth generation. We hope this report will increase the recognition of the contribution they can make to the economy.”
The EIA follows similar studies that have been undertaken in Australasia and the United States, as well as a study currently being carried out in Europe.
It is ground-breaking work which provides a first official articulation of the economic value of the zoo community in the UK.
According to figures from 2010, 25 million people (more than a third of the UK population) visit BIAZA zoos and aquariums every year and more than 1,200,000 of these people do so during an educational visit. Over 600 research projects are carried out and BIAZA members support over 700 field conservation projects contributing over £11 million per year.
There are also a wide range of social benefits arising from the activities of zoos which make an even stronger case for greater investment in this important area of activity. These include links with higher education in terms of training and research, the inculcation of knowledge of the animal world, the promotion of sustainable forms of living and outreach to all sectors of society.
Dr Stevenson added: “This report is the first step towards establishing the value of zoos to the wider economic and social good.”
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