Published on : Monday, July 3, 2017
A huge tourism boom has led the numbers of visitors to Leeds increase by almost 10 per cent. It generated £1.6bn last year alone for the local economy. Leeds attracted an extra four per cent of tourists in 2016 compared to 12 months earlier, taking the total visitor numbers beyond 27 million.
Tourists were lured by major sporting events and an explosion of shopping and leisure opportunities, and helped to generate £1.64 billion for the city’s economy, up almost 16 per cent from the previous year. The city also reached the fifth place in the UK league table among top business conferencing destinations. Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Leeds is a city that is constantly pushing boundaries and widening its appeal to visitors as a contemporary and dynamic destination. We’re seeing a city evolve through inspirational regeneration with the hosting of world sporting events, including now the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, innovative new shopping centres that are winning global awards and an arts, culture and music scene that is vibrant, diverse and engaging. The bid to be European Capital of Culture 2023 will give the city another huge platform to be showcased on attracting even more visitors from across the world. It’s an incredibly exciting time for Leeds.” Karen Sewell, business spokeswoman for the Leeds 2023 independent steering group, added: “This is brilliant news for Leeds and a massive endorsement of our growing reputation as a city which has so much to offer visitors from all walks of life. As we move closer to submitting our bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023, our hope is that we can work towards further enhancing our vibrant visitor economy, giving these millions of visitors a chance to explore our city and its communities, and putting Leeds firmly on the map as an eclectic cultural hub.”
Leeds has also hosted major events such as the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Series in June and Light Night, a two- evening arts and light festival in October which attracted record numbers. Leeds has also enjoyed the success of the opening of Victoria Gate last October. Within a few months of opening, it had been named Best Shopping Centre in the World. The city is also home to a wealth of museums and galleries, including iconic names like the Henry Moore Institute, and has one of the fastest growing independent food and drink scenes in the UK.