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03/08/2016

Tourism Intelligence - June 2016

York Mystery Plays, the inaugural Eboracum Roman Festival and York Festival of Ideas all helped boost tourism figures for June.

Many of the tourism performance indicators showed a boost in June, which in part may be attributed to the packed calendar of events and festivals. This positive start to the summer season is encouraging.

Visits to attractions is one success story with a reversal in the attractions’ fortunes in June. Overall there were more than 240,000 visits to attractions, 15% higher than in June 2015. In particular, York Minster welcomed 25% more visitors than last year, due to the successful run of the York Mystery Plays.

Matching the growth seen at attractions, there has also been an increase in visits to attractions using a York Pass (up 9% compared to last year), in footfall through the Visit York Information Centre (6% up) and in traffic to www.visityork.org (1% up).

Hotel room occupancy dropped by 6% in June compared to the same time last year, with 80.8% of hotel rooms occupied. Despite this, the hotels managed to grow their average room rates again, up 2% to £82.50, which is the highest average room rate recorded in any June since our survey began in 2007.

Conference, meeting and event enquiries generated by the VisitYork4Meetings conference desk remained strong, with exactly the same number of enquiries as in June last year.

Summary for June 2016:

• 80.8% of hotel rooms occupied
• £82.50 average hotel room rate
• 241,251 visits to attractions
• 5,708 visits to attractions using a York Pass
• 115,760 sessions on www.visityork.org, including on the mobile site
• 71 accommodation bookings made through www.visityork.org
• 40 enquiries generated by the VisitYork4Meetings conference desk
• 37,270 customers through the Visit York Information Centre

We have now reached the half way point in the year. The Boxing Day floods resulted in low tourism results in the first quarter of the year, and although most measures have not yet reached the same level that they were at after the first six months of 2015, several are now close as a stronger second quarter aids the sector’s recovery. All signs are good for a continued recovery, demonstrating York has a robust tourism sector.

In particular, the attractions are starting to see a turnaround in fortunes too and the number of visitors to attractions are only 2% below the level they were at this time last year. Footfall, both through the Visit York Information Centre and through the city centre is also heading back towards a more stable point, at just 4% below the first 6 months of 2015. Recovery is slower for sessions on visityork.org and accommodation bookings made on the website, still 14% and 45% lower than January to June 2015 respectively. However, the drop in online bookings is a national trend for tourism websites as other market leaders take the bulk of customer bookings; booking.com and so on.

The success stories of this year so far are average hotel room rates; at 2% above the first half of last year and record breaking highs were reached in the second quarter of this year, with enquiries generated by VisitYork4Meetings at 16% above the first half of last year.

Summary for January to June 2016 compared to January to June 2015:

• 68.2% of hotel rooms occupied (down 7%)
• £76.51 average hotel room rate (up 2%)
• 1,152,466 visits to attractions (down 2%)
• 18,023 visits to attractions using a York Pass (down by a third)
• 793,420 sessions on www.visityork.org, including on the mobile site (down by 14%)
• 553 accommodation bookings made through www.visityork.org (down by 45%)
• 222 enquiries generated by the VisitYork4Meetings conference desk (up by 16%)
• 181,318 customers through the Visit York Information Centre (down by 4%).

To request an overview of tourism performance each month or to find out any more about our Research and Insights, contact Make It York’s Research Executive Zoe Rawson: Email: zoe.rawson@makeityork.com