Nearly 35million people visited Leicester and Leicestershire last year, an increase of one million more visitors compared to the previous year.
According to new figures published, 11.53million people visited the city of Leicester in 2018, compared with 10.95million in 2017 – while visitors to Leicestershire were up from 22.82million in 2017 to 23.4million in 2018.
After six years of continuous growth, tourism was worth more than £650million to the city’s economy last year – with tourism benefitting the county to the tune of £1.2billion.
The positive results have been welcomed by City Mayor Peter Soulsby and county council leader Nick Rushton, as the city and county prepare to launch new plans for the development of the tourism sector later this month.
“These new figures show that Leicester is continuing to grow as a visitor destination, with record numbers of people choosing to spend time in our city,” said City Mayor Peter Soulsby.
“They are very encouraging figures – and they’re being backed up by support from investors, with major hotel groups showing their confidence in Leicester by planning 850 new bedrooms in the city over the next five years.
The new figures also show that the number of tourism-related jobs is on the rise, with more than 23,000 people now employed in the sector across the city and the county – an increase of 2.9% on 2017.
In Leicester, there’s been a 20% rise in the number of jobs in the tourism sector since 2012, with nearly 8,000 people now working in the industry. In the county, more than 15,000 people are employed in the sector.
County council leader Nick Rushton said: “I’m delighted that the tourism industry across the city and county is offering visitors what they want.
“We’re reaping the rewards of having top class attractions, such as Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, the National Forest and Twycross Zoo, while the county council’s investment in facilities such as the Beacon Hill Country Park café shows we understand what we need to do to increase our appeal.
The tourism figures for Leicester and Leicestershire are taken from the 2018 Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor (STEAM) survey.