TOURISM chiefs are celebrating after Chester Racecourse was declared the fourth most popular in the country after Cheltenham, Ascot and Aintree.
The course revealed this week that it achieved by far the biggest attendance increase of any of the UK’s top 15 courses, up an average of 10% in 2009.
This has been welcomed by the region’s tourism industry and the local economy, which already generates over £1.8 billion every year for Cheshire and Warrington.
“The local visitor economy employs nearly 30,000 and is crucial to the quality of life local residents enjoy,” said Chris Brown, chief executive of Visit Chester & Cheshire (VCC).
“The racecourse’s recent results prove the significant economic impact it has throughout Chester and Cheshire; the city’s occupancy levels rise to nearly 100% during key race meetings which generates substantial revenue and keeps visitors in the region for longer to do more and spend more.
“The racecourse is a stunning example of the many premier attractions we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy here in Cheshire.”
VCC will be inviting residents to join them in celebrating the success of the regional visitor economy and local attractions, such as the racecourse, during British Tourism Week (March 15–21), by teaming up with 40 local tourism businesses to give residents a range of exclusive offers to help the community rediscover what’s on their doorstep.
British Tourism Week, a VisitBritain initiative now in its fourth year, puts the visitor economy under the spotlight and highlights the contribution it makes to the life of local residents.
Chief executive of Chester Race Company, Richard Thomas, said: “Chester race days are not only a fantastic day out, they represent a huge growth opportunity for the visitor economy across Cheshire.
“The total economic impact could be as high as £4million during our key race meetings.
“With an average attendance of almost 20,000 people and 65% coming from outside Cheshire; the race meetings are attracting more and more people to the region and are having a positive knock on effect on the local economy.”
Mr Thomas added: “Visit Chester & Cheshire’s sustained partnership building and marketing activities have delivered real benefit for the racecourse, which has enabled us to deliver these significant and positive results for Chester, its people and its economy.”