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Issued February 2016

NEW Tourism Figures Revealed for York

New detailed analysis of York’s annual tourism figures has been revealed today demonstrating the annual value of tourism to York’s economy. Commissioned by Make It York, the research gives the most up to date picture of the health of the tourism economy in the city.

Headline figures, which were announced at the Visit York tourism conference on 20 January, have already revealed that visitor spend has reached a record breaking £608 million, up by 6% (from £573 million), visitor numbers (leisure and business) are up by 1.5% to 6.8 million (from 6.7 million) and the number of jobs supported by tourism has increased by 6% to 20,300 (from 19,000). Good news for the tourism sector too is that the average spend by day visitors has increased from £35.90 to £44.86.

There were 5.85 million leisure visitors (86% of total visits) and almost 1 million business visitors (14% of total visits). Both sectors were up by 1.5% respectively over the previous year.

Today more detailed analysis has been published; one of the best pieces of news being that 99% of visitors said they would recommend York to friends and family. 60% of visitors stated their main reason for coming to York was to enjoy the ambience of the city and more visitors than ever before – over half a million - stated shopping as a main driver for their visit (cited by 10% of leisure visitors ie 585,000).

Total conference and event spend equalled £132m (or £141 per business visitor) and total leisure visitor spend equalled £476m (or £82 per leisure visitor). Food and drink is the number one area of spend, followed closely by shopping; leisure visitors spent £135m and £130m respectively, up from £120m and £107m reported in 2013.

Results are also out today for the annual Visitor Satisfaction survey, which involves face to face interviews with 1,000 leisure visitors throughout the year (Jan 2014 – Dec 2014). The general atmosphere, welcome and variety of things to see and do all scored high satisfaction levels - all scoring over 90%.

A roundup of key results from the Annual Economic Impact Model and Visitor Survey showed that:

4% of leisure visitors were from overseas – 246,000 – on a par with the previous year, spending £49 million; spend was up by £1million in the previous year. Overseas visitors make up 8% of the total leisure visitor spend.

The top five nationalities visiting York were: Americans (18% of all overseas visitors - no change on the previous year), Germans (13% - up from 5% in 2013, and moving 2 places up the rankings to 2nd place), French (9% - up from 7%) and roaring ahead into fourth place, the Chinese (leaping from tenth place just two years previously at 3%, taking the Chinese share of overseas visitors to 8%) and in fifth place Australians (7% - down from 16%).

Kate McMullen, Head of Tourism, Make It York, said, ‘We’re now using an improved questionnaire, so whilst we’re confident we are seeing an increase in Chinese visitors for example, we also need to consider that we’re now getting a higher proportion of responses from non-English speaking nations, who may have opted out of completing the full questionnaire in previous years due to language difficulties.

These results are encouraging and demonstrate our overseas marketing campaigns are paying dividends. We are seeing growth in the proportions of Chinese, German and French visitors specifically. We believe 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.’

Key economic impact figures released today also show that out of York’s 6.8 million visitors, 22% are staying overnight and 78% are day visitors, which is very similar to the previous year. More than a quarter (28%) of overseas visitors were in York for one day and 72% were staying at least one night.

The annual Hotel and Visitor Attractions Monitor also backed up the evidence that 2014 was a strong year. Hotels reported the highest annual average room occupancy rating since surveys began in 2007, with an average of 79.4% of York’s hotel rooms occupied throughout the year, 3% more than in the previous year.

York’s attractions enjoyed their second most successful year ever in 2014, with 3.1 million visitors going through their doors, just 4% lower than the record of 3.4 million visitors set in 2013 thanks in part to successful events such as the Great Gathering of A4s at the National Railway Museum and the Orb and the Undercroft at York Minster. Results for the year end 2015, will be known at the end of this year.

Kate continued. ‘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.’

There were 2.1mn visitors to York in 1987, spending £55 million. Today’s new figures reveal that 6.8 million visitors are spending a record breaking £608 million annually.



Notes to Editors:

A summary of headline results from the research showed:

• Visitor numbers up by 100,000 (+1.5%) to 6.8 million
• The proportion of overnight visitors is now 77% of all visits, or 1.5 million visitors staying one or more nights in York
• The tourism industry in York supports an estimated 20,300 jobs, which accounts for 19%, or 1 in 5 jobs in the city.
• Annual visitor spend up by 6% to £608 million (up from £573 million)
• Overnight visitors accounted for the majority of the value of tourism, contributing £357m, compared to £251m from day visitors (58% of total tourism expenditure vs 42%). An average overnight visitor spends five times more in York during their trip than the average day visitor(£238 per trip compared to £47)
• Conference and event visitors continue to contribute significantly above average spend to the visitor economy, accounting for 21% of the total visitor spend despite representing only 14% of the number of visitors to York per year. Total conference and event spend equalled £132m (or £141 per business visitor) and total leisure visitor spend equalled £476m (or £82 per leisure visitor).
• Overnight leisure visitors stayed an average of 2.8 days in York and the average length of stay of an overnight business visitor is 1.8 days
• Food and drink is number one area of spend, followed closely by shopping; leisure visitors spent £135m and £130m respectively, up from £120m and £107m reported in 2013.

For further information please contact:

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

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

*Annual tourism figures revealed are for Jan 2014 – Dec 2014. These annual figures are the most recent and up to date figures. Annual tourism figures for the full year 2015 (Economic Impact) will be known at the end of 2016.

The Annual Economic Impact Model is a piece of research, combining results from the tourism industry’s ‘Cambridge model’ and the ‘UK Conference and Meetings Survey’, which provides estimates of the economic impact of tourism for destinations and has calculated afresh the total number of leisure and business visitors to York and their estimated spend whilst in the city.

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, stud, work and do business. The 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

New key tourism facts:
6.8 million visitors annually, £608 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,300 jobs