Tourism is now worth more than £2bn to the Cheshire and Warrington economy and supports around 30,400 full time equivalent jobs according to the latest research from Marketing Cheshire.
Data for 2010 shows that the value of tourism was up 5% on the previous year. Cheshire and Warrington now attracts over 44million visitors a year – the vast majority of these are day visitors; although the staying visitor market increased by 7% from 2009 to 2010 to around 3.2million overnight visitors a year.
The data was compiled using the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor based on hotel occupancy rates, room rates, surveys and footfall figures for tourist attractions and Visitor Information Centres.
Chris Brown, chief executive of Marketing Cheshire, said: "These figures are encouraging as they indicate that our visitor economy still managed to grow whilst in the middle of one of the worst recessions to hit our country for many a year.
"That said, to continue to grow we need to continue to increase visitor appeal and this can only be done by developing our product.
"There are a number of potential projects in the pipeline that could boost our offer in the next few years, such as ambitious expansion plans at Chester Zoo and the proposed Bewilderwood attraction at Tatton Park."
Mearketing Cheshire encouraging rural businesses to apply for grants from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs' new Rural Economy Grant scheme, worth £10m to the tourism sector. Rural businesses can apply for funding in excess of £25,000 and where 60% of the overall project cost comes from private funding.