Manchester's Christmas markets open for business on Thursday with 300 stalls trading across eight sites around the city centre.
Last year the council estimated around 1.3m visitors went along to sample the mulled wine and tasty treats of the popular Christmas markets. The economic impact was estimated at £49.1m.
Around half the traders are North West businesses and the other half from a variety of countries including Germany, France, Italy and Poland.
The sites this year are Albert Square, Brazennose Street, King Street, St Ann's Square, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square and Triangle.
Alongside the market stalls, this year's festive celebrations will feature the biggest display of Christmas lights in the city centre with more than 250 trees and 330 lamp-posts decorated and 28 across-street displays using a total of almost 400,000 low-energy bulbs.
Cityco, the city centre management company, has joined forces with Manchester City Council, Marketing Manchester and Piccadilly Partnership and a host of private sector partners to bring a full range of events across the city including the Christmas Markets, Family Fair in Piccadilly Gardens, Santa's Grotto in the Manchester Arndale and the Ice Rink in Spinningfields.
Vaughan Allen, Cityco's chief executive, said: "A brand new bespoke lighting scheme provides the perfect backdrop for what is set to be the most magical Christmas ever here in Manchester. This year we have a traditional funfair with Big Top bar in Piccadilly Gardens, the Christmas markets including a new French market on King Street and the ice rink returns to Spinningfields. All this combined with the incredible range of shops, bars, restaurants and shows makes for a really fun Christmas for everyone."
Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Marketing Manchester, said: "Special events attract a significant number of additional visitors to the city. The Manchester's Magical Christmas campaign uses visitmanchester.com as the main channel for encouraging visitors and we're expecting to see a notable increase in traffic to the site during the festive period. Working in partnership on this campaign is a great way to achieve this and we have no doubt that this will be another successful Christmas for Manchester."
This year's Christmas campaign is supported by Manchester Arndale, Northern Rail, Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, NCP, Stagecoach, First Transpennine Express, Metrolink, Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser and Selfridges.