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More than 35m people visited our tourist attractions last year

Chester Races, Cheshire Oaks, the Lion Salt Works and Chester itself pulled in the punters

The Ice Cream Farm play park near Tattenhall.

Chester Zoo , Cheshire Oaks , the Ice Cream Farm, the Anderton Boat Lift – and not forgetting Chester itself – are among attractions that helped pull in more than 35m visitors to Cheshire West last year.

The tourism industry in Cheshire West and Chester is valued at £1.937bn – across Cheshire and Warrington it is worth a staggering £3.376 bn.

This is according to the annual STEAM report, an independent analysis of the county economy (2016), which highlights visitor numbers up 7.7% to 62.18m and employment in the visitor sector up 6.1 per cent at an estimated 42,615.

Cllr Brian Clarke , cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, said: “I welcome this good news, the report has revealed the visitor economy in Cheshire West and Chester grew at a remarkable rate of 10.5 per cent in 2016, probably one of the fastest in England.

“It just goes to show that we are definitely now a place of destination with over 35 million visits thanks to all of our attractions. Most are day visits but there has still been a 6.1per cent growth in hotel stays.

“The council and our partners continue to develop attractions and itineraries that appeal and attract audiences to enjoy all that our area has to offer.”

Boodles May Festival 2017 at Chester Races(Image: Dale Miles)

Other major attractions bringing visitors to West Cheshire include Chester Races , Chester Cathedral and the Lion Salt Works.

Katrina Michel, chief executive of Marketing Cheshire , said: “This has been a stunning performance in Cheshire West and Chester. Chester and its environs is now a significant destination with world class attractions and a hotel and dining scene to match. Further afield Bolesworth and Carfest go from strength the strength. I can’t wait to see next year’s figures which will include Storyhouse, the Pokémon event and Chester Castle .”

Chief executive of Marketing Cheshire Katrina Michel(Image: Celynnen Photography)

The figures are supported by the latest footfall figures for Chester. Data produced by Springboard show monthly footfall in Chester has risen by 11.7 per cent (compared to last year). This represents a huge increase compared to the average UK fall in footfall of 0.5 per cent.

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