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2013 becomes record-breaking year for York tourist attractions
RECORD-BREAKING visitor numbers have been reported at York’s biggest tourist attractions with an eight per cent rise this year.
This has proved to be the best year since records began almost a decade ago, according to tourism figures from York’s tourism agency Visit York.
The organisation monitors visitor levels through a poll of nine of the city’s largest attractions; the National Railway Museum, York Minster, Jorvik, York Castle Museum, YorkBoat, York’s CHOCOLATE Story, Clifford’s Tower, the Yorkshire Museum and York Dungeon.
Visits to the largest attractions since the start of 2013, up to October, have increased eight per cent from 2,100,901 in 2012 to 2,485,133 in 2013.
Events at the National Railway Museum, the Orb and Undercroft at York Minster and Richard III artefacts at the Yorkshire Museum have all been contributing factors to what Visit York has said are the city’s best tourism figures in over a decade.
Jim Lowe, visitor experience operations manager at the National Railway Museum said: “We have been thrilled with the visitor numbers of 2013 which have exceeded our forecasted visitors for this year.
“It’s been a fantastic year for the museum and we hope that 2014 steams along at a similar pace.”
Mr Lowe said NRM’s two headline Great Gathering events showcasing Mallard attracted about a quarter of a million visitors to York, while the total number of visitors for the July Great Gathering came to almost 140,000. 100,000 visitors attended the museum’s Autumn Great Gathering.
He said visitor numbers are currently up around 35 per cent year on year.
Julie Spowart, territory marketing manager at English Heritage, said: “We have had an excellent season at Clifford’s Tower this year, seeing a 25 per cent increase in visitors to date, on the same period last year. We are absolutely delighted.”
Smaller attractions also fared well this summer, with growth of two per cent in August, 13 per cent in September and three per cent in October. In October, the large attractions recorded double-digit growth for the fourth month in a row.
Hotels have also seen an upturn. In September, Visit York recorded a 90.6 per cent hotel room occupancy, the highest for any month in York since the official tourism survey began in 2007 and a rise of four per cent since 2012. Average room rates were three per cent higher at £80.80.
Kate McMullen, head of Visit York, said: “We’re delighted with these fantastic figures. The increase in occupancy levels demonstrates a strong trend for visitors to stay for two or more nights.
“York is performing very well and attracting visitors from the UK and overseas.”
Visit York’s visits to attractions research was introduced in 2005.
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