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Marketing Campaign Success For York

Tourism figures for the first six months of 2014 have been released by Visit York today, showing York’s tourism sector is on a winning streak. The first half of 2014 has been positive for tourism in York, with growth seen in all sectors when compared with January to June 2013. In particular, hotels have performed well and with a 6% increase in hotel room occupancy and average room rates up to 78.5% and £76.33 respectively. Growth was more modest for the attractions sector, with visits up by 0.3% to the large attractions and 1.1% to the smaller attractions.

Given that 2013 was a record year for the big attractions (monitored through a survey of eight of the city’s largest attractions), partly as a result of the huge success of Mallard75 at the National Railway Museum last year, tourism chiefs say it is encouraging to see visits to attractions holding strong this year. The number of visits made with a York Pass has grown too by 8%, up to 35,281 attraction visits.

Sessions on, enquiries through the VisitYork4Meetings conference desk and footfall in the Visitor Centre have all grown strongly this year too when compared with the first six months of 2013, with website sessions to up by 11%, conference enquiries up by 16% and Visitor Centre (at 1 Museum Street) footfall up by 15%.

Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York said, ‘We’re delighted with the tourism results for the first six months of this year. We’ve seen growth across all sectors including hotel occupancy, visits to attractions and footfall through our world-class visitor centre - that’s set against the record year we had in 2013. What’s exciting too is that visitors are now booking much longer stays, discovering not just the city but also the rest of Yorkshire whilst they are here.’

Buoyed by a good performance in the hotels in April and May, York saw a record second quarter of the year, with the highest recorded room occupancy, average room rates and RevPAR (revenue per available room) in the April to June period since the Visit York hotel survey began five years ago.

City centre footfall rose by 33% in July and by 40% for the Tour de France weekend in particular. Visit York experienced a monthly year on year increase in footfall of 5% through the doors of its Visitor Centre; welcoming 60,602 visitors. Added to this there has been a huge leap in the number of people accessing through mobile devices, driving an overall year on year increase in sessions on the city’s official tourism website of 15%.

In July hotels also saw their average room rates continuing to sit above those achieved in July 2013 and saw the largest monthly growth for the year to date; up 12% to £89.22 - the highest monthly average room rate recorded since surveys began. This sits alongside a new record room occupancy rate as well, at 92%, 1% higher than in July last year. More records were broken again in August, with July’s highest ever room occupancy record being exceeded for the month of August at 92% - 3% higher than in August 2013 (which was 89%). The average room rate wasn't quite high enough to beat the July record, however, it took a close second place, at £88.70 and it was 7% higher than in August 2013 (£82.65).

Visit York Marketing Manager Michelle Brown said, ‘Our First Time campaign, launched last year, supported through the Regional Growth Fund in partnership with VisitEngland and East Coast, is having a strong impact. These first half year results show our new marketing campaign is working and we’re on track to deliver a billion pound tourism sector by 2025.’ ENDS

For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Corporate Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

Katie Porter – Senior Communications Executive – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

Notes to the editor:
• In 2012 tourism spend in York exceeded half a billion pounds for the very first time – York’s visitor economy was estimated to have a value of £606 million. (The new economic impact figures for York for 2013 are expected to be known in November 2014).
• There were 2.1mn visitors to York in 1987, spending £55 million. Today seven million visitors are spending a record breaking **£606 million annually.
(**The Consumer Prices Index (CPI), the inflation measure used in the Government’s target for inflation, reports that 12 month rate of inflation grew cumulatively by 13.4% between 2008 and 2012. This suggests that of the £163m difference between the £443m value of tourism reported in 2008 and the £606m value reported in 2012, a third is due to inflation and two thirds is due to increased spend per visitor) .

Tourism Facts:
• The top five ranked overseas countries visiting York are the USA, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and France. Although there has been some fluctuation in the order of the countries listed, these five have remained consistently high in the rankings. Canada is the only other country to be in the top five more than once in the last five years but has slipped down the rankings more recently. The United States has consistently been the number one overseas market for York for the last ten years.

• Visit York is supported by the City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with VisitEngland.
• Visit York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city’s Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.
• Visit York is the driving force of the city’s tourism industry. Key facts:
7 million visitors annually, £606 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,000 jobs