A residents’ festival was a tremendous success with over 4,000 free tickets being snapped up, tourism chiefs have revealed.
The week-long event, supported by Cheshire and Warrington’s councils, also had even more attractions taking part this year.
The second annual festival of its kind, the promotion saw some tickets taken within hours of being made available according to organisers Marketing Cheshire.
Residents were able to enjoy top attractions for free with the offer seeing 4,086 tickets being redeemed.
Marketing Cheshire describes the festival as ‘a thank you to residents for welcoming growing numbers of tourists into the county’. It was arranged to coincide with English Tourism Week.
People were able to download free vouchers and tickets to attractions in Cheshire and Warrington ranging from spectacular stately homes and gardens to museums and historic theatres which all threw their doors open to residents.
Katrina Michel, chief executive of Marketing Cheshire, said: “The festival has been a tremendous success and we’ve had some great feedback from residents and attractions across the region.
“These visits are a wonderful win-win situation for everyone, driving interest from new and existing customers and goodwill all around.”
Justin Madders (Lab), MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston, added: “It is great to remind ourselves what a glittering array of tourist attractions is on our doorstep in Cheshire and Warrington.
“Tourism makes a very important contribution to the regional economy and I am delighted that so many attractions have come together to support this successful and imaginative initiative. I hope that this is a building block for more integrated campaigns of this sort.”
Graham Boxer, head of museums at the Canal & River Trust which runs the historic National Inland Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port, said: “Waterways are a key feature of our region and it was a pleasure to welcome locals to the museum during the festival and see them connecting the history of the museum with the waterways they see around them every day.
“I’m glad visitors have had such fun using our interactive displays, visiting the museum, enjoying the exhibits and taking boat trips. We hope to welcome many of them back to events during the year.”
Visit England director Andrew Stokes referred to Cheshire’s ‘diverse range of attractions and its wonderful heritage’ and said: “The welcoming attitude of locals plays a huge part in visitor experience and the residents’ festival is a wonderful way to engage with them by encouraging them to be tourists in their own county and think of themselves as ambassadors for Cheshire.”
Cheshire West attractions involved in the festival included the Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre at Tarporley, the Lion Salt Works Museum in Northwich, the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port and the RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands in Puddington.
Latest figures show visitor numbers to Cheshire and Warrington rose by almost 8% in 2016, with more than 62 million tourists flocking to the area.