SWOT Analysis of Oxfordshire as a Tourist Destination

SWOT Analysis of Oxfordshire as a Tourist Destination


Oxfordshire is not just a tourist destination but also a well-developed landlocked county in South East England. Apart from tourist industries, the country has major education industries and is famous for its concentrations in car manufacturing, motorsport and technology companies (Segota, 2018). Every year Oxfordshire receives over 9 million tourists and visitors. Its main tourist destination is Oxford city. In addition to the college buildings, many of which are very old, the Bodleian Library, and many churches, Oxford is surrounded by countryside (Best Destinations in Europe, 2021). The Thames runs through it as does the river Cherwell from Magdalen Bridge. It is possible to see quite a lot in one day but it will be very superficial. The tourist office arranges guided walks – some connected to famous inhabitants of the past such as C.S Lewis and even fictional characters such as Inspector Morse. Oxfordshire is also famous due to the Blenheim Palace – filled with historical and artistic artifacts, such as books, paintings, and memorabilia of the famous Winston Churchill. Not far afield there are the beauties of the Cotswolds dotted with many attractive villages. Furthermore, Oxford itself has a good shopping center plus an indoor market. There are hotels and other accommodation at various prices. Considering the competitive tourism industry, it is critical to examine the external environmental factors of Oxfordshire including its SWOT analysis to establish effective marketing strategies.

External Environment



One of the most significant factors that make Oxfordshire a market tourist destination is its socio-cultural activities. Oxfordshire county hosts the famous Ashmolean Museum which is Britain’s first public museum and home to popular collections and artifacts. These artifacts represent the cultural aspects of the people of Oxfordshire and Britain in general. Other places that represent the culture include the Oxford University Museum of word archaeology and anthropology, Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers Museum,and History of Science Museum (Best Destinations in Europe, 2021). The people of Oxfordshire are also religious with a lot of chapels, especially in Oxford. In the evenings, one is likely to hear faint music from college choirs. The historic venues in Oxfordshire play host to recitals and concerts. The New Theatre Oxford particularly hosts the most famous names in entertainments from top comedians, to musicals, to best dances to world-class music.


Oxfordshire is a county that rapidly building its reputation as a leading technology hub in the United Kingdom. It also has a rich history of building new technology startups with heath technology and computing being its particular strong sectors. Additionally, the University of Oxford has intellectual properties including copyright, software, data, patented technologies, and data offered for commercial use (Oxford University Innovation, 2021). The new inventions provide not only the people of Oxfordshire but also other parts of the world with new improved products, services, and processes. This helps the county gain a decisive competitive advantage. Oxfordshire has also grown into a top-notch digital hub that offers a lot of services to individuals and tech companies through its capitalization of world-class innovations. With oxford being home to leading technology unicorns in the United Kingdom, the city has managed to venture much of its capital on British startups outpacing China and United States to a record of 13.2 billion Euros. This makes Oxfordshire the best tourist destination especially for technology enthusiasts and technology companies to benchmark.


Economically, Oxfordshire leads in the country. Oxfordshire is the tourism opening to the other parts of the United Kingdom. The county attracts approximately 9 million visitors staying and daytime visitors every year. This generates approximately 800 million Euros of income for local businesses not only in Oxford but also in other cities in the county. Oxfordshire is also among the three net contributors to the exchequer in the United Kingdom, generating an economic output of about 23 billion dollars of Gross Value Added annually from 30, 000 business and 400,000 jobs (Oxford City Council, 2021). The county has several national assets including national research centers, globally-renowned education institutions, and leading clusters of science and technology. Nonetheless, it has near-full employment, a highly skilled workforce, and world-leading and growing businesses both in emerging and established strategic sectors in the United Kingdom.


Since 2013, the Oxfordshire County Council has been controlling the most critical functions of the local government including county roads, schools, and social services. It also has five districts of the local government including South and West Oxfordshire, Cherwell, Oxford, and Vale of White Horse which deal with matters such as housing, waste collection, and country and town planning (Oxford City Council, 2021). During the European Union referendum, Oxfordshire became the only English county that voted to remain in the European Union.



Oxfordshire has many competitors when it comes to tourism not only in the United Kingdom but also in other parts of the world. In the past few years, the tourism industry has become highly competitive. Oxfordshire competes with other similar foreign regions in Europe based on cultural heritage assets, facilities, and natural history. As a business, culture, and congress tourism county, Oxfordshire competes with Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex, and Northamptonshire among many others. Also, other cities around the world such as Rome, Paris, New York, and Instabul, offer different attractions making them in competition with Oxfordshire.

Customer Needs

More than one billion travelers go on vacation every year as they seek new experiences and relaxation. With the digital era, consumer behavior in the tourism industry is changing. Consumers need information concerning a tourist destination to be readily available on their phones. This means Oxfordshire should advertise its destinations on social media. The needs of consumers visiting Oxfordshire are related to several features including gastronomy, culture, landscape, infrastructure, shopping, and events (Segota, 2018). These features attract tourists to Oxfordshire and contribute to the general experience of their trips. Customers also need holiday packages, reduced fees for cultural sites, and tourism campaigns.

Trends in Marketing

Tourism and hospitality companies in Oxfordshire are contemporarily facing a scenario of change and exceptional uncertainty with the new social and economic growth and marked by new economic and geopolitical balance with new development poles. In Oxfordshire, the tourism industry has reinforced its significance as a social and economic sector especially with the national tourism demand (Stanford, 2020). With the new reality, tourism businesses have established new strategies that will guarantee their competitiveness. Considering the market pressure, tourism companies in Oxfordshire have opted for easier-to-reach strategies such as social media and other digital media strategies. Others have opted for mergers, strategic partnerships, acquisitions, and asset-light solutions. This reality has led to growth and an increase in tourism brands and hotel chains in Oxfordshire.

SWOT Analysis


The strengths of Oxfordshire as a tourist destination are its capabilities and resources that can be used as grounds for creating a competitive advantage. One of the major strengths of Oxfordshire is that it is among the leading educational centers in the world hosting the Oxford University among other institutions (Smith, 2019). It also has been associated with innovation and excellence and the highest populations of students from overseas. When it comes to its pop culture and cut-edging style, no county can swing it like Oxfordshire. The fashion in Oxfordshire’s cities especially oxford is exhilarating since it is cool, funky, and interesting. It is still known for its independent and emerging fashion designers. With every choice of entertainment, a tourist can never be bored in Oxfordshire. From contemporary art to music, to ballet to the theatre on any day in Oxfordshire, there are many world-class events to attend (Experience Oxfordshire, 2021). The biggest film festival in the United Kingdom and one of the longest-running in the globe is the Oxford Film Festival. The OFF educates, entertains, and provides visitors an opportunity to watch different independent films for free screening over 200 films from 50 different countries in the world. When it comes to ethnic and cultural diversity Oxfordshire prides itself on peaceful multiculturalism with linguistic and ethnic diversity. From the beginning of the industrial revolution to date, immigration continues growing in several racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds (Best Destinations in Europe, 2021). Other strengths of Oxfordshire as a tourist destination include affordable prices, a good reputation among visitors, and numerous prehistoric sites to visit.


Even though Oxfordshire is a great tourist destination several weaknesses can prevent the county from achieving its full potential and accomplishing its mission. One of the major weaknesses of Oxfordshire is the expense. Oxfordshire has recently been ranked one of the most expensive counties in the United Kingdom. An expensive transport system combined with soaring property prices has significantly influenced the high cost of living especially in Oxfordshire’s cities (Oxford City Council, 2021). The rent of a luxury one-bedroom apartment in Oxford is twice more than that in other cities in Amsterdam, Rome, and Dublin. As in the case of major regions, Oxfordshire has its fair share of crimes. According to police data, there were 2000 crimes recorded across Oxfordshire in May 2021. Topping the list incorporated 699 incidences of sexual offenses and violence, 217 public order offenses, and 255 incidents of anti-social behavior (Experience Oxfordshire, 2021). Burglary and shoplifting accounted for 79 and 90 incidents respectively. There are also some incidents of homophobia offenses and gun crimes. Over the past few years, gay and lesbian people have experienced homophobic aggression. Shooting crimes have also doubled over the past few years. Oxfordshire’s cities have high levels of pollution causing millions of premature deaths. Also one of the most frequent complaints that have been raised by the people of Oxfordshire is the amount of street works especially in the cities (Segota, 2018). This is because utility companies have been provided access to dig up the streets for repair work and new installations.


The opportunities of Oxfordshire as a tourist destination are numerous. One of them is its economy. Even though the world is experiencing the worst recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy can be a significant opportunity rather than a threat. First, the British sterling pound is among the strongest currencies in the globe. The Bank of Oxford extended its assets purchase program with high hopes of resurrecting the economy (Oxford City Council, 2021). Nonetheless, interest rates have been recorded low. This means that Oxfordshire has an opportunity to develop and expand as the country slowly recovers from the current recession. Another opportunity for Oxfordshire is the green effort. The people of Oxfordshire produce more than 1 million tons of rubbish every year. Oxfordshire City Council should focus on helping the citizens and businesses improve environmental performance through recycling of wastes, waste prevention, and creative ways of using leftovers (Smith, 2019). Oxfordshire also needs to focus on new technologies that attract more tourists including social media, blogs, emails, and other digital techniques. There is also the need to loosen travel regulations and remove international trade barriers to allow more visitors into the county.


Several threats can significantly hinder Oxfordshire from progressing as a tourist destination. One of them is competition from other counties not only in the United Kingdom but also around the world. While Oxfordshire is trying to attract tourists, it has competed with other counties and cities (Stanford, 2020). Some of the major competitors include London, Rome, Paris, Lisbon, and Berlin. Terrorism is also a major concern to tourists and inhabitants of Oxfordshire. Oxfordshire has endured a plethora of terrorist attacks for many years. One of the most recent was the Oxford Circus            Panic. Other threats include shifts in consumers’ tastes away from Oxfordshire’s tourism destinations and new travel regulations.


Oxfordshire is one of the greatest tourist destinations with unique socio-cultural activities, a great economy and technology, and a better political landscape. A SWOT analysis of Oxfordshire shows that the county has many resources and developments in terms of education, culture, economy, and diversity that attracts many tourists. However, the county has several weaknesses including crime, expense, and pollution. There are several opportunities for the county to succeed as a tourist destination including focusing on its economy, green effort, and new technologies. The threats that can hinder the county from achieving this include competition, terrorism, and shifts in consumer tastes. If Oxfordshire rebrands and markets itself as a leading tourist destination in the world, a positive image that will entice visitors to rethink the region can be achieved.














Best Destinations in Europe. (2021). Tourism in Oxford, England. Europe’s Best Destinations. https://www.europeanbestdestinations.com/destinations/oxford/

Experience Oxfordshire. (2021, June 16). Destination Management Organisation. Experience Oxfordshire. https://www.experienceoxfordshire.org/partner/

Oxford City Council, O. C. (2021). Economic Statistics | Economic Statistics | Oxford City Council. Oxford.Gov.Uk. https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20124/economy/454/economic_statistics

Oxford City Council, O. C. (2021b). Local government structure and service responsibilities | Local government structure and service responsibilities | Oxford City Council. Oxford.Gov.Uk. https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20050/how_the_council_works/595/local_government_structure_and_service_responsibilities

Oxford University Innovation. (2021). Technologies Available. https://innovation.ox.ac.uk/technologies-available/

Šegota, T. (2018). Visitor Experience Design. Oxfordshire, UK: CAB International. ISBN: 978-1-78639-189-6.

Smith, H. L. (2019). Promoting Local Growth in the Oxfordshire High-tech Economy: Local Institutional Settings. In Promoting Local Growth (pp. 147-163). London: Routledge.

Stanford, D. (2020). Overtourism: excesses, discontents, and measures in travel and tourism: edited by C. Milan, JM Cheer and M. Novelli, Oxfordshire, CABI, 2018. 244 pp.,£ 84.99 (hardback), ISBN-13: 978-1-78639-982-3.


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