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Tourism heads towards a £1 billion boost

The importance of tourism to the Cheshire economy has been hammered home with the publication of some impressive new statistics.

Income from visitors to Cheshire East is set to top £1 billion a year for the first time, it has been revealed.

The area’s visitor economy has increased by 3.2 per cent on the previous year’s figures – placing the total value of hospitality and visitor revenue at £921 million. It means it is on target to break through the £1 billion barrier by 2020.

Almost 16 million visitors passed through the borough in 2016/17, with festivals and dozens of other events and attractions continuing to boost the area’s popularity. Notable was the strong increase in staying visitors, the value of which increased by 6.3 per cent to £241 million.

Employment in the borough’s visitor economy also continues to rise, with a further increase  – in full time equivalents – to 11,557. 

The figures are calculated through Steam, (the Scarborough Tourism Economic Analysis Monitor) – an accredited method of calculation used by many visitor destinations.  

As part of its visitor economy strategy, Cheshire East Council has a long-standing aspiration to help create a visitor economy worth £1 billion by 2020. 

Cheshire East leader Rachel Bailey said: “This is excellent news again for Cheshire East, the council and our outstanding hospitality and tourism industry.

“We are fortunate to be ideally positioned for a great day visit as well as for visitors from all over the country, and abroad, staying with us.

“We are delighted that more people are discovering what the borough has to offer. Some visitors come for the shows – Nantwich, Royal Cheshire, the RHS Flower Show – or concerts, including Rewind and Blue Dot festivals. 

“Other visitors came to see our great historic places of interest, our breath-taking countryside, or to explore our canals and rivers. Many choose to stay overnight in our quality hotels and bed and breakfasts, which are good value.”

In addition, horticultural shows, heritage and antiques markets, classic car shows and farmers’ markets have all proved popular.

Detailed analysis of the latest figures shows a 69.3 per cent increase in the value of the visitor economy to Cheshire East since the borough came into being in 2009. Overnight stays in 2017 injected £200 million into the hotel industry – an increase of 6.6 per cent on the previous year.  

Continuing investment in the borough’s heritage attractions at Tatton Park, Quarry Bank Mill and Jodrell Bank, could lead to a further boost in numbers as the projects develop, officials say, while Cheshire East Council staged ‘Pride in the Park’ in September, which boosted visitor numbers still further.

Cheshire East can also once again boast Green Flag status for eight of its parks thanks to significant investment in recent years.

The following parks received Green Flags: Bollington Recreation Ground; Brereton Heath Local Nature Reserve; Congleton Park, Queens Park; Sandbach Park; Tatton Park; Tegg’s Nose Country Park; and The Moor, in Knutsford.

http://www1.chester.ac.uk/itc

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