With just a week to go before the county celebrates tourism and hospitality businesses across the county in the Lancashire Tourism Awards 2018, Marketing Lancashire has revealed the latest annual tourism figures for 2017. Latest figures show the visitor economy continued to grow, with the economic impact of the sector reaching £4.25 billion (+2.9% since 2016) and visitors increasing from 67 million to 67.63 million. There has also been a 1% increase in jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, Rachel McQueen, said: “This is good news for Lancashire and another year of positive growth for the sector. The greater rise in economic impact, compared to visitor numbers, shows that people visiting the county are now also spending more. We are encouraged by the 3% increase in staying visitors and, with an incredibly busy summer this year, we are optimistic that we will see a healthy level of growth into next year.”
Lancashire continues to be hugely popular with day visitors, thanks to great connectivity and an offer that appeals to the people living in nearby urban centres. The county also has a diverse and packed programme of events that draw visitors from wider neighbouring counties and further afield. Day visitors generated £2.06 billion in 2017, an increase of 3.2% on the previous year, but staying visitors generated even more at £2.2 billion, an increase of 2.8%. Key areas of spend continue to be retail and food & drink, which generated over £2.18 billion, together an increase of 4% in 2017.
Rachel McQueen, added: “We’re delighted to see that these areas of spend have increased. Lancashire has a much-admired food & drink offer, as evidenced by recent accolades. From two Michelin star Moor Hall, one Michelin star Northcote and The White Swan at Fence, to the highest quality food pubs such as Freemason’s at Wiswell, Parkers Arms and The Cartford Inn, which all feature in the Top 50 UK gastro pubs.
“These establishments have some of the country’s finest food producers on their doorstep and our work to help champion producers as well as Lancashire’s restaurants, pubs and cafes through the Taste Lancashire campaign, continues to put the spotlight on the county’s food and drink sector.”