Findings published following face-to-face interviews with 1,000 visitors

Visitors to Exmouth like the town and return regularly but are spending less than half of what an average visitor spends when they visit other places in East Devon and the rest of the county.

These facts are among the findings of the 2016 Exmouth Visitor Survey which is published today (Wednesday 22 March 2017) and was commissioned by East Devon District Council on behalf of the Exmouth Coastal Community Team (ECCT). You can read the survey on the East Devon website.

In the first survey of its kind in the town, face to face interviews were carried out with 1,000 visitors to the town between June and October.

The research was carried out by the South West Research Company on behalf of the ECCT to find out the profile of visitors to the town, what they do when they visit, what their leisure preferences are, how much they spend, how they rate Exmouth’s facilities and how satisfied they are with Exmouth as a destination. Adults aged from 16 onwards were asked to take part in the interviews on a random basis as they visited the resort.

The key findings of the study were:

  • Visitors to Exmouth are predominantly older with 31% or those interviewed aged 65+ and 29% aged 45 to 64 years.
  • 75% are repeat visitors to the town.
  • Half of all visitors live within the South West region.
  • 78% were visiting the resort without children.

Just under half the visitors interviewed were staying overnight in Exmouth with 21% staying in a caravan or holiday centre. The average length of stay in the resort was around five nights.

However, visitor spending levels in Exmouth are below average for visitors to other places in East Devon and Devon as a whole. Visitors spend £15.99 per person per day/night in Exmouth which compares with an average spend per person per day/night in East Devon of £33.97 and £35.59 for Devon.

Visitor satisfaction levels were generally good particularly around accommodation, places to eat and drink, outdoor places to visit and the upkeep of parks and open spaces. A third of visitors said that their expectations were exceeded when they visited Exmouth.

When visitors were asked what specific places they visited or planned to visit, the most popular places were the beach (94%) followed by the town centre (77%) and Exmouth Marina (54%).

There were areas where visitors were not so satisfied including the range, quality of service and value for money of shopping in Exmouth, the range of indoor attractions and places to visit, and the range of the nightlife and evening entertainment in the resort.

Many visitors mentioned the need for cheaper car parking in the resort, the need for an improved range of shops in the town and for improvements to be made to the beach and town centre areas. Some mentioned improved provision and cleanliness of public toilets and some road and traffic issues.

The results of the study will be used by the Coastal Community Team to help move the town forward.

Cllr Philip Skinner, chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Board and East Devon District Council portfolio holder for the economy said:

Visitors to Exmouth have had a chance to tell us what they think thanks to this survey for the town’s Coastal Communities Team.  We now have a good profile of our visitors and what they like and don’t like.  Most people are repeat visitors so it looks like we are getting a lot of things right. There are things that they are very satisfied with and others that they want to see improved as well. 

What comes across loud and clear is that visitors to Exmouth spend half as much as they do in other places in Devon and want Exmouth to offer them more and new things to do.  The message is that we need to provide good facilities and offer more attractions and activities for regulars and new visitors to do.  That works for them and brings more life and money into our local economy.  It also means more reasons to visit and stay in Exmouth to bring in more visitors and from further afield.