Cheshire’s visitor economy brought in £2.61bn in 2015, a 5.35% increase on 2014’s figure and 56.4% up on 2009, according to new figures compiled by Global Tourism Solutions on behalf of Marketing Cheshire.
Visitor numbers rose to 47.73 million, a 4.4% increase.
Several of the area’s key tourism assets reported positive figures; Chester Zoo recorded its millionth visitor of the year two weeks earlier than its previous record and was the most popular paid-for visitor attraction outside London for the fifth year running. The Chester Grosvenor hotel reported an 11% rise in sales over the year from August 2015, with an occupancy rate of 97.4%.
Arts producer Storyhouse sold 25,000 tickets for the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, with nearly half the visitors coming from outside Cheshire. Chief executive Andrew Bentley described the results as very encouraging ahead of the opening of the Storyhouse venue, a £37m cultural centre and visitor attraction, set to open in spring 2017.
Global Tourism Solutions, a private company that compiles economic impact reports, prepares the figures annually for Marketing Cheshire.
Alison Duckworth, director of tourism at Marketing Cheshire, said: “Tourism is imperative to our region’s economy and we are striving to do more. We have a region that deserves to be in the UK’s top ten and this is our aim for the coming years.”