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Major tourism boost for Cheshire as record visitor figures are released

Millions of people visited Cheshire West and Chester during 2014

Chester Cathedral at Heights tour has contributed to record tourist visitors to the city(Image: Valerie Hackpil)

A record number of tourists came to Cheshire in 2014.

More than 31 million people visited Cheshire West and Chester and 46 million to the wider county, an increase of 10 million from 2009.

Marketing Cheshire announced the figures at their Annual Visitor Economy Conference.

Tourism spending was also at an all-time high, increasing by 9.5% up to £2.5bn, including the £1.6bn spent in Cheshire West and Cheshire.

Additional hotel rooms and shorter travel times from London by train are thought to have helped attract visitors.

The Cathedral at Height attraction, enhanced City Walls experience and more improvements at Cheshire Oaks are also cited for boosting numbers.

Marketing Cheshire chief executive Katrina Michel said: “We don’t stand still in Cheshire and these figures are testament to the hard work of our hotels, restaurants and attractions.

“Cheshire’s star continues to rise whether it’s through television coverage with shows such as Home Fires, or experiences such as Bolesworth International and Cholmondeley Pageant of Power.”

World champion trials bike rider Dougie Lampkin rides through Cholmondeley ahead of the Pageant of Power

In Cheshire East, Tatton Park’s award for Visit England’s Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2014 and Dunham Massey’s transformation into a World War One military hospital has had a positive impact.

Chester Cathedral director of operations Simon Warburton said: “Chester Cathedral is delighted to have played a role in maintaining Chester’s position as a must-see visitor destination.

“Since going ‘free to enter’, we have increased our visitor numbers from 60,000 in 2012 to 230,000 in 2014.

“We also know that 20% of our visitors are from overseas and 47% are overnight visitors staying at least two nights.”

With several projects opening this year including Islands at Chester Zoo, the RE:NEW Chester Cultural Centre and a Jodrell Bank visitor centre, the rise is expected to continue.

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