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Record Tourism Results For York
NEW Economic Impact Figures Revealed

New figures revealing the annual value of tourism to York’s economy have been announced today (27/02/14). Tourism spend in York has exceeded half a billion pounds for the very first time.

*A new piece of research, combining results from the tourism industry’s ‘Cambridge model’ and the ‘UK Events Market Trends Survey’, which both provide estimates of the economic impact of tourism for destinations, has calculated afresh the total number of leisure and business visitors to York and their estimated spend whilst in the city.

This new research model now shows that visitor spend is a third higher than the figure of £443 million estimated in 2008, by the ‘Economic Impact Model for Tourism in Yorkshire’ and now reveals a record breaking £606 million spend by visitors in 2012.

Commissioned by Visit York, the research for 2012, sheds new light on the value of tourism to the city.

Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York said, ‘These statistics are fantastic news and mean we have exceeded our targets. It’s our strong partnership approach, working closely with York’s tourism businesses and their innovation that continually enables York to stay ahead of the competition.’

Other headline results from the research showed:

• Visitor numbers remained at seven million
• The proportion of overnight visitors is now 22% of all visits, compared to 17% reported in 2008; 1.5million, up from 1.2million
• The tourism industry in York supports an estimated 20,200 jobs, which accounts for 20%, or 1 in 5 jobs in the city.
• A recent report by the Office for National Statistics showed that York falls into the top ten destinations for the percentage of its workforce employed in tourism, demonstrating how important tourism is to the local economy.
(All other destinations in this top ten are either rural or coastal, making York unique as a city destination. The top three destinations for tourism employment are Torquay, the West coast of Scotland and Cornwall.)

Tourism chiefs are hailing the results as fantastic news for the city. Cllr Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: ‘These results demonstrate the importance of tourism and the visitor economy. Whether here for a holiday or business trip, by spending in our hotels, shops and restaurants it’s clear that visitors contribute significantly to the city. Our aim has always been to concentrate on increasing the value of tourism in York, so we’re delighted with these latest results and we will continue to build on this success.’

A summary of key findings from the research included:

• Annual visitor spending up by £163 million from £443 million to £606 million

• Visitor numbers remained constant 7 million – an estimated 6 million leisure visits and 1 million business visits

• Overnight visitors account for the lion’s share of the value of tourism, contributing £399m compared to £207m from day visitors (66% vs 34%)

• Conference and event visitors continue to contribute significantly above average spend to the visitor economy, accounting for 25% of the total visitor spend despite representing only 15% of the number of visitors to York per year. Total conference and event spend equalled £151.6m and total leisure visitor spend equalled £454.8m

• Overnight leisure visitors stay an average of 3.3 days in York and the average length of stay of an overnight business visitor is 2.3 days

• Food and drink is number one area of spend, followed closely by shopping; leisure visitors spent £125m and £116m respectively, up from £92m and £54m reported in 2008.

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, although the gap is narrowing between the US and second placed Australia as the Australian market grows at some pace.

Economic impact results for 2013 will be published later in the Autumn, however, early indications from Visit York’s hotel occupancy and attractions surveys are positive, with both surveys anticipated to show a record year.

Jane Lady Gibson, Chairman of Visit York said, ‘These excellent results show we are on the right track and we now have ambitious plans, with partners in the city, to create a billion pound visitor economy for York by 2024. To successfully deliver on this we will raise our game still further, creating a sharper, more innovative approach to take tourism in York to the next level.’

There were 2.1mn visitors to York in 1987, spending £55 million. Today’s new figures reveal that seven million visitors are spending a record breaking £606 million annually.



*The previous economic impact research into tourism was conducted in 2008 – using the ‘economic impact model for tourism in Yorkshire’. Please note that the Cambridge model for this latest survey uses a different methodology to the ‘economic impact model for tourism in Yorkshire’ and direct comparisons of the results between the two are difficult to make. This is the reason for stating ‘the value of tourism has been calculated afresh’, rather than ‘tourism spend has increased’, although it is a fair assumption, using all of the current market intelligence that visitor spend has increased.

**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 value reported in 2008 and the value reported in 2012, a third is due to inflation and two thirds is due to increased spend per visitor.

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

Tourism Facts:
• 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

New way of working - Explanation
Chairman of Visit York, Jane Lady Gibson has recently been appointed Chair of a new initiative to develop a new approach to the way in which York raises its profile, attracts and support business investment, manages the city centre and markets the city nationally and internationally. The proposal is for Visit York with the City of York council, to lead on the creation of a new agency which would bring together the work of Visit York, events and culture as well as city centre management and some inward investment activity.

Tourism is a key ingredient in this mix, however, other aspects of marketing the city would be delivered through this new way of working, with key partners such as York@Large, Science City York and the two Universities. This new agency would enable York to be even more effective at marketing York overseas and attracting business visits. It is too early to say what the final model will be. Visit York and its members are an integral part of this process and will be a key part of any new approach.