A little bit worried about the potential for backlash of this Gazette statement, we thought we'd pop a quick note up about the Steam Coast Trail's estimations for job creation and economic benefit.
The first thing to note is that the CCF funding of £637k will not create 140 posts. This figure relates to the wider Steam Coast Trail project, the calculations for which are below.
The Steam Coast Trail will create both direct and indirect employment in West Somerset.
One permanent full-time job will be created as a Project Manager for the Steam Coast Trail. The figure for the creation of other direct employment, in cycle-related businesses and cafes adjacent to the path, is derived from discussions with existing local businesses. From these discussions we have identified that three jobs will be created in cycle–related businesses, and five cafes will each take on one additional full-time member of staff and three part-time members of staff. In total these amount to a total of 24 jobs, or 16.5 FTE jobs (when part-time jobs are taken into account).
Indirect employment is based on total jobs in tourism and related sectors, derived from additional spend in West Somerset by users of the path. There will be two main groups of users: local residents; and visitors from outside West Somerset.
We have assumed that one quarter of local residents will use the path over the course of each year, which is just under 9,000 users. Each user will spend a small amount on bicycle maintenance and food and drink. In total this will generate around £260,000 of additional spend in the local economy.
For visitors, we have considered a number of data sources to identify a reasonable number of users. In 2013 West Somerset attracted over 2.5 million day-visitors (i.e. not including staying visitors). A 3% increase in this number means an additional 77,000 visitors per year, and a 10% increase means an additional 256,000 visitors per year. We then considered user numbers of other cycle paths, based on data provided by Sustrans. A typical tourist cycle path attracts around 280,000 users, the Camel Trail in Cornwall attracts around 400,000 cycle users and the Tarka Trail in Devon attracts over 500,000 cycle users and an equal amount of walking visitors. Taking all of this information into account, we have projected that the path will attract 100,000 visitor users in its first year, rising to 200,000 after five years. Sustrans data suggests that 99% of users will be day visitors (in this case people who have not chosen to stay in West Somerset solely because of the Steam Coast Trail), and 1% will stay overnight. We have applied this ratio to the visitor numbers.
Data on the spend per day and overnight visitor has been derived from the 2013 tourist impact work undertaken for West Somerset*. Spend per visitor data is multiplied by the number of visitors. For 100,000 visitors, spend increases by £3.2 million per year, and for 200,000 visitors, spend increases by £6.4 million per year.
The tourist impact work undertaken for West Somerset Identifies the total number of jobs sustained by tourism spend in West Somerset (for both day visitors and staying visitors). Using this data, we calculate that 100,000 visitors will support an additional 69 jobs (49FTEs), and 200,000 visitors will support an additional 138 jobs (98 FTEs). Local residents’ additional spend supports five additional jobs on top of these numbers.
We have not double counted the primary data on additional job creation and the indirect job creation figures calculated above. Therefore we have assumed a total of 74 jobs (24 direct and 50 indirect) and an economic benefit of £3.46M, supported by 100,000 visitors and 9,000 local resident users; rising to 143 jobs (24 direct and 119 indirect) and an economic benefit of £6.66M supported by 200,000 visitors and 9,000 local resident users.
*The South West Research Company (2013): Tourism Volume and Value Data, 2013