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Tourism Intelligence – January to December 2016

Despite the very rocky start to 2016, tourism in York rallied in the second half of the year with several tourism business sectors reporting measures that were on a par with 2015 or even showing year on year growth.

Visit York launched its ‘York, the original city adventure’ campaign early in 2016 and this, combined with the support of tourism businesses around the city, led to a strong recovery.

The hotels are one such success story – with hotel room occupancy being turned around from a 4% deficit in quarter 1 (January to March) to an end of year total which showed that 4% more of York’s hotel rooms were occupied in total in 2016 than in 2015 (to 78.7% of hotel rooms occupied, up from 75.4%). The hotels in York also managed to increase their average room rates in 2016, reporting an increase of 9% to £94.08.

Similarly many of the attractions succeeded in recovering their visitor numbers, from a 6% drop in quarter 1 to an equal number of visits to 2015 by the end of December. The final quarter of the year was particularly strong, with growth in visitor numbers 10% higher than in the same period in 2015.

VisitYork4Meetings reported another success story for the year, with 11% growth in conference and event enquiries generated by the team to 488 for the whole year. This suggests that we will see increased numbers of delegates coming to York in the near future.

Although city centre footfall and footfall through the Visit York Information Centre didn’t quite match the levels reached in 2015 (down by 3% and 7% respectively, for the full year), a late surge in the months at the end of the year fought to catch up from the biggest drops seen in the early months.

Following a difficult couple of years for, the slowdown in sessions to website stalled as the strength of the mobile site surged. This mirrors a national trend as more people access content on their smart phones.

By the end of 2016, a third of all sessions on were made on a mobile device and the number of mobile sessions was 3 times higher than at the end of 2015. These extra visits are now almost matching the decline in visits to the desktop website, resulting in a drop of just 7% year on year.

Summary for January to December 2016:

• 78.7% of hotel rooms occupied
• £94.08 average hotel room rate
• 2,550,110 visits to attractions (provisional)
• 60,279 visits to attractions using a York Pass
• 1,801,576 sessions on, including on the mobile site
• 488 enquiries generated by the VisitYork4Meetings conference desk
• 405,432 customers through the Visit York Information Centre

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: