Visitors spend a record £608 million in York. So what’s next for our tourism sector?

20 Jan 2016 @ 11.55 am
| Business

Tourists spend an average of £44.86 a day in York. Add all those average spends together and you get a record-breaking £608 million.

The latest tourism figures (for Jan-Dec 2014), revealed at Visit York’s annual tourism conference on Wednesday (January 20), show

  • a six per cent rise in estimated visitor spend, up from £573 million
  • a 1.5 per cent increase in visitor numbers, from 6.7 to 6.8 million
  • a rise in average spend by day visitors from £36 to £44.86
  • and an upturn in the number of jobs supported by the tourism industry, taking it from 19,000 to 20,300.

Kate McMullen of Make it York, which markets the city nationally and internationally, acknowledged it had been a difficult start to the year with businesses and attractions hit by the Boxing Day floods.

She said Visit York is planning its “biggest and best annual tourism campaign yet for York and North Yorkshire”, under the theme Evolving York.

And she welcomed the figures as a positive endorsement of the city.

These latest tourism figures are a sign of confidence in York and are testament to the city’s popularity and resilience.

After the floods, it’s now more vital than ever that our marketing reaches audiences world-wide.

There truly are more reasons to visit York and Yorkshire than ever before and we’ll make sure the city is put firmly on the ‘must visit’ list this year for new and repeat customers both at home and abroad.

Headline events for 2016

Ruby Barker and Mark Comer who will play Mary and Joseph in the York Mystery Plays in the Minster this summer. Photograph: Duncan Lomax / Ravage Productions
Ruby Barker and Mark Comer who will play Mary and Joseph in the York Mystery Plays in the Minster this summer. Photograph: Duncan Lomax / Ravage Productions

So, what’s new in York this year?

The Flying Scotsman’s homecoming to the National Railway Museum, the much anticipated reopening of York Theatre Royal, the newly opened Living Heritage Centre at the Bar Convent and the return of York Mystery Plays to York Minster were among the conference headlines.

Also on the agenda for 2016 is a new marketing drive, using @visityork on Instagram as a visual marketing tool, introducing a new blogger campaign to boost online content and increasing targeted marketing in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and China.

The go-to city

A new marketing drive promotes York as a premier conference centre. Photograph by Kippa Matthews for Visit York
A new marketing drive promotes York as a premier conference centre. Photograph by Kippa Matthews / visityork.org

Through its Science City brand, GAMBIT, there are plans afoot for a smartphone app to guide visitors to attractions based on real-time information.

And a new project will be launched to make York the go-to city for conferences and business events – a market it already has a good foothold in with an estimated 977,000 delegates generating £141 million for the local economy.

Michelle Brown, marketing manager for Make It York, said:

We’re working full steam ahead to target the travel trade, tour operators, conference organisers and consumers to shout loud and proud about York.

“We’ll make sure customers are in no doubt there’s never been a better year to visit York.