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Outdoor recreation market in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

Outdoor recreation refers to any recreational activity that takes place in an outdoor setting. Typically it is pursued for enjoyment and challenge; health and fitness; to develop social skills, team building skills, and problem solving skills; and for the appreciation of natural environments. Traditional examples of outdoor recreational activities include hiking, camping, mountaineering, cycling, canoeing, caving, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, running, sailing, skiing, SCUBA diving, and surfing.

The outdoor recreation industry constitutes a large and diverse component of the UK economy. Although far from conclusive, some parts of this industry consist of specialist equipment manufacturers and retailers; outdoor education facilities; health and safety standard licensing authorities; outdoor activity centers; guiding and instruction; facility operation, whether artificial or natural; national authorities; and commercial and not-for-profit organizations conducting programs for youth, for example The Scout Association.

The most frequently visited national park in the UK is the Lake District National Park with over 2.2 million visitors annually. The Lake District is located in Northern England and is particularly popular for its mountainous terrain and numerous waters and meres. In July 2017, the Lake District became the UK’s 31st UNESCO World Heritage Site, highlighting its popularity and importance to the British tourism industry.

There are a variety of national representative bodies for outdoor recreation activities including the British Mountaineering Council and British Orienteering Federation. These representative bodies promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, and the sport of orienteering. Both organizations have seen a significant growth in membership over the last ten years, illustrating the growing popularity of outdoor recreation activities.

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Outdoor recreation market in the United Kingdom (UK)

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Hiking & recreational walking


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