Issued by:  Visit York
Issue Date:  Wednesday 6 March 2019

As busy as a summer’s day – that’s the conclusion drawn in research published today on  York’s frozen Ice Trail.  Thousands of people turned out to see fifty icy sculptures dotted around the city on the first very chilly Saturday in February.  Organisers, Make It York, moved the trail from December to February to help bring visitors into the city at a quieter time of year.  On the back of the success of this year’s trail, the event next year will be back to two full days; Saturday 1 February and Sunday 2 February.

An estimated 17, 000 people visited the York Ice Trail, new figures have revealed.  Through a mix of online and on the street research, reaction to moving the trail to February was also overwhelmingly positive.  

New figures released today show that average total footfall figures (for Parliament Street, Coney Street, Stonegate and Micklegate), on February 2 were 131,476 – 41% higher than on the same first Saturday in February 2018.  Footfall on the first Saturday in February in 2018 was estimated at 93,482.  Footfall also grew exponentially on each of the four streets where counters are in operation: Coney St grew by 55%, Stonegate by 46%, Parliament St by 33% and Micklegate by 10%. 

Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York, said: “The creative geniuses at Glacial Arts really excelled this year and pulled out all the stops to make this our best Ice Trail yet.  We were overwhelmed with reactions to the trail, people really love it and we’re now busy planning the next one already.”  Thousands turned out to walk the trail of fifty stunning sculptures, each sponsored by a York business. 

Andrew Lowson, Executive Director, York BID, said: “We’re delighted to support this key event in York’s annual calendar.  It’s a fun and interactive experience and it was great to see so many families enjoying the sculptures and exploring some of York’s more hidden streets.  Holding the event in February has been proven to boost footfall numbers at a traditionally quieter time of year.”

84% of people visiting came especially for the York Ice Trail and Parliament Street, St Helen’s Square and the Hero Camp at Middleton’s Hotel proved to be the most popular spots to visit.  30% of respondents to the survey saw all of the sculptures, a further 60% saw at least half of them and 90% of visitors said they would be likely to return to see the York Ice Trail next year.   As well as the Ice Trail over 80% of respondents visited the local shops, restaurants and attractions.  One third of visitors were York residents and the rest were mainly from Yorkshire.  8% were staying overnight.  ENDS

For further information please contact:
Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

Notes to Editors:

Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

Key tourism facts:
6.9 million visitors annually, £564 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs

How the research data for York Ice Trail is worked out?

An additional total 38,000 heads (2019 V 2018) were counted by the footfall cameras (these may have been counted by two or three different cameras).  Removing this double counting by multiple cameras, the total number of additional visits to York during the York Ice Trail was estimated at 17,000.  Visit York research shows that an average of 29% of people who are in the city centre when there is an event or festival happening are likely to take part in that event or festival.