Cheshire East’s burgeoning visitor economy continues to grow, with a 6.3 per cent leap in 2016 placing the total value of hospitality and visitor revenue at £895m.
A record 16 million visitors passed through the borough, a rise of 4.9 per cent, with the Tour of Britain international cycle race, festivals and many other events and attractions boosting the area’s popularity.
Employment in the borough’s visitor economy has also risen, with a 3.5 per cent increase in full time equivalents to 11,493.
The figures are calculated through Steam, (the Scarborough Tourism Economic Analysis Monitor). It is an accredited method of calculation used by many other visitor destinations.
As part of its visitor economy strategy, Cheshire East Council has a long-standing aspiration to help create a visitor economy worth £1bn by 2020.
Cheshire East deputy leader David Brown, cabinet member with responsibility for tourism and the visitor economy, said: “This is excellent news for Cheshire East, the council and our outstanding hospitality and tourism industry.
“More people are discovering what the borough has to offer. Some visitors come for the shows – Nantwich, Royal Cheshire, the RHS Flower Show – or concerts such as Rewind and Blue Dot festivals.
“Others are here for our great historic places of interest, our breathtaking countryside, or to explore our canals and rivers. Many choose to stay overnight in our quality hotels and B and Bs.
“Hosting the country’s most successful stage of the Tour of Britain gave an added boost and showcased the borough to the world. Then of course there is the business tourism and the large numbers of people who visit the borough purely for business reasons but who often stay for longer than planned or return with their family.”
The detailed analysis of the latest figures shows a 64.6 per cent increase in the value of the visitor economy to Cheshire East since the borough came into being in 2009. Overnight stays in 2016 injected £188m into the hotel industry – an increase of 4.5 per cent on the previous year.
With continuing investment in the borough’s heritage attractions at Tatton Park, Quarry Bank Mill and Jodrell Bank, this could lead to a further boost in numbers as the projects develop, while Cheshire East Council will stage another Tour of Britain cycle event in 2018.
Katrina Michel, chief executive of Marketing Cheshire, said: “Cheshire East is developing a distinctive visitor economy that is in touch with what today’s visitors want – a great mix of outdoor experiences, unique events and high-quality accommodation.
“Its location between Manchester Airport and HS2 Crewe means that it is set fair for significant growth in the future.”
The Cheshire East Visitor Economic Strategy 2016-2020 can be viewed or downloaded at: http://bit.ly/2ujYdKe