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The tourism factor
12:00am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in The York Report
Tourism is one of York’s key sectors, contributing £443 million to its economy and supporting 23,000 jobs in and around the city.
Seven million visitors come to the city every year according to figures from the city’s tourist board Visit York, 17 per cent of these visitors come from overseas.
Most visitors come from the midlands, followed by the northwest, and elsewhere in Yorkshire, while only two per cent come from Wales.
Twenty-eight per cent of visitors in 2011 arrived by train, up on 22 per cent in 2010; 55 per cent were couples, 37 per cent visited as a family and 12 per cent were travelling alone.
The city is most popular with the 45-to-54 age bracket, which made up 24 per cent of visitors, but it attracted all ages, with 18 per cent aged 16-34.
The average visitor spent £38.80, not including accommodation, up from £37 in 2010.
York is to be promoted more widely after Visit York received £666,666 from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to encourage Brits to holiday within Britain in a project coordinated by national tourist board VisitEngland.
The fund has been boosted to £1 million by other partners including East Coast Rail and City of York Council.
The campaign, which targets the lucrative first-time visitor market, and will promote the city more overseas, in London, the southeast, midlands and Scotland, aims to boost the local economy by five per cent, an estimated £22 million over the three years, creating an estimated 391 new jobs.
A winning formula
In 2012, the world’s attention was on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, showing the impact sporting events can have on the visitor economy.
About 83,500 people are believed to have seen the Olympic torch pass through York, with 55,000 lining the streets during the day, 23,400 in the evening on Knavesmire and another 5,000 watching it the following morning as it left the city.
This was estimated to have generated up to £1 million of additional spend in York over the two days, with footfall up 25 per cent.
York’s major sporting destination York racecourse attracted 342,120 visitors to the city in 2012, the third highest behind Ascot and Cheltenham. That is worth more than £44 million per year to the city’s economy.
The course attracted 30,000 visitors when Frankel, the best thoroughbred in the world, raced at York at the start of the 2012 Ebor Festival in its first ever £1 million-prize raceday.
Now York racecourse plans to ensure the city continues to attract some of the world’s best racing with a £5 million redevelopment to improve facilities for racegoers, horses and jockeys.
A new marathon to be held in York and the surrounding area in October is expected to bring £1.5 million to the city, attracting 15,000 spectators to boost York’s hotels, restaurants and shops.
All 5,500 places in the first Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon were taken in just three days.
In 2014, the largest sporting event in the world, the Tour de France, is to be hosted by Yorkshire and will set off from York on the second day. The city council has invested £500,000 in hosting the event, which it expects will generate global media coverage, from up to 350 international organisations, worth £15 million.
Another £1.8 million could be spent on accommodation, with up to 10,000 bed nights needed in the area for teams and media employees and up to £6.2 million could be spent on food and catering that day, with a further £6 million of retail non-food spending expected.
And the action is expected to continue in 2015, when England hosts the Rugby Union World Cup.