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Summer sun boost for city's tourism

Tourist bosses say good weather has boosted visitor numbers

Chester Cathedral has seen visitor numbers triple in July

Summer sunshine and a packed events programme have brought tourists to Chester in their droves according to Marketing Cheshire, the agency responsible for the visitor economy.

From messing about on the River Dee to buying ice creams at Cheshire Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall, the sun seems to have brought out the best in us all.

Director of Chester Boats Claire Lockley said: “It’s been a long time since we have had a summer like this, it’s great to see so many people getting outside and enjoying our beautiful river – July has been an unbelievable month.”

Visitors to Cheshire Farm Ice Cream in Tattenhall topped 64,000 in July, up 40% from the same period last year.

Director Jonathan Fell said: “This summer is set to be a record breaking one for us in terms of visitor numbers.

“There is no doubt that the warm weather has helped us on our way - who doesn’t crave a dollop of quality ice cream in the sunshine – but our expanding offer has been the main driving force.

“We also have plenty of indoor activites available should we run into our usual British summer rain!”

Traditional favourites like Chester Races are attracting record crowds, while Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre is performing Shakespeare to packed houses. Ticket sales for the 2013 season are expected to exceed 2012 by 50%.

Chester Zoo has seen 40,000 more visitors so far this year compared with the same time last year.

The 2013 production of the Chester Mystery Plays was the most successful in the modern era with 90% attendance over the two-week run at Chester Cathedral.

The cathedral itself has seen a dramatic rise in visitors following the decision to scrap the entry fee earlier this year.

Vice dean Canon Peter Howell-Jones said: “We have seen our visitor numbers triple, from 7,000 in July 2012 to 22,000 in July 2013.

“It is our job to welcome people to our vibrant community of worship and show them hospitality.  We hope our free-to-enter initiative will return the cathedral to the people - local residents and tourists alike.”

Chief executive of Marketing Cheshire Katrina Michel said: ‘The super summer weather has really given Chester’s tourism industry a boost.

“People are certainly rediscovering the pleasures of stay-at-home holidays across the UK and overseas visitors have been booking last-minute accommodation at the Town Hall Visitor Information Centre.

“We cannot afford to be complacent in a highly competitive market place though and have recently commissioned the city’s first made-for TV commercial to help boost visitor numbers in the quieter months of the year.”

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