Marketing Cheshire has released positive figures which reveal Chester and Cheshire’s tourism is continuing the steady growth seen since 2010, with significantly increased visitor numbers and an increased visitor spend.
The Steam report, which is prepared for Marketing Cheshire by Global Tourism Solutions, has shown record figures for 2015 with the impact of the visitor economy totalling £2.61 billion, a 5.35% increase from 2014 and 56.4% increase from 2009 figure.
Visitor numbers have also risen to 47.73 million, a 4.4% increase on previous figures.
Director of tourism for Marketing Cheshire, Alison Duckworth, said: “These figures reveal unequivocally that the Cheshire visitor economy is continuing to grow and flourish. They are our best tourism results to date and there is every indication we can sustain this growth.
“The region has so much to offer in terms of attractions, accommodation and experience and with the continued collaborative effort to market our unique quintessential British experiences to both home and abroad, we will continue to build the awareness of this wonderful region.”
She added: “We had a significant outcome from our #perfectchester and #perfectcheshire campaign this summer, reaching over 10 million potential visitors over social media, and reinforcing the message through advertising and PR campaigns. This has driven an increase to our own website bookings of over 11% increase and we are hearing the same from many of the city’s accommodation providers.
“We also have plenty to shout about in 2017 and you can expect to see our #perfectcheshire campaigns introduce our audience to the new cultural centre for Chester, as well as a host of new restaurants, hotels, exhibitions and attractions across the region.
“Tourism is imperative to our region’s economy and whilst we are delighted by the 2015 and 2016 figures, we are still striving to do more. We have a region that deserves to be in the UK’s top 10 and this is our aim for the coming years.”
Chester Zoo has announced positive visitor results, reaching its millionth visitor in record time, two weeks ahead of its previous record. It was also named as the most visited paid for attraction outside of London in 2015.
Managing director of Chester Zoo, Jamie Christon, said: “There is no doubt that Cheshire as a region is growing in popularity. We have seen record results this year and we attribute it to both the advances and investment we have made at the zoo itself and also the increased visitors to the region.
“We are working together better than ever - as Cheshire and also the greater Northern region - to create exciting visitor experiences and by creating the infrastructure for visitors to enjoy them.”
Hoteliers around the region have reported increased occupancy throughout the summer and higher revenue yields.
The Chester Grosvenor has seen a growth of 11% on sales from August last year to this year, with an occupancy rate of 97.4%.
Arts producer Storyhouse has seen positive growth and results this summer. They had 25,000 ticket sales for the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, with the biggest programme to date. Nearly 50% of the visitors came from outside of Cheshire.
CEO of Storyhouse Andrew Bentley said: “Summer 2016 was an excellent year for Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre - as well as presenting our biggest programme to date we welcomed a large proportion of tourists to the theatre.
“Nearly half of our audiences came from outside of Cheshire - which is testament to the collaborative tourism marketing campaigns that have happened during the year.
“These results are very encouraging as we look ahead to the opening of Storyhouse, the £37m cultural centre and major visitor attraction, set to open next spring.”