The estimated value of tourism in the Cheshire West and Chester area has risen to £2.12 billion, Chester accounts for £0.7 billion an 11.6 per cent increase from 2015 figures.

The annual STEAM report, an independent analysis of the Cheshire and Warrington economy (2018), highlights total visitor numbers have been rising over the years, 12.1 per cent since 2015 and 44.8 per cent since 2009 to 36.4 million. There are an estimated 25,469 people employed in the visitor sector (a 12.9 per cent increase from 2015 and a 48.1 per cent increase since 2009).

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth said: “Our visitor economy has grown considerably over the past nine years; the report has revealed the number of visitors staying in the area last year reached 1.5 million with high hotel occupancy levels recorded. New investment in local hotels is seeing an improvement in the accommodation on offer as we look to increase the number of visitors who are staying longer in our area.

“The majority of visitors are here for a day, drawn to attractions including Chester Zoo, Chester Cathedral, Cheshire Oaks, Chester Races, Anderton Boat Lift and events like NowNorthwich or our many parades. Storyhouse welcomed a million visitors in its first year and has been wowing audiences and picking up awards ever since.”

The latest footfall figures for Chester Market are also very positive. Data produced by Springboard shows that yearly footfall increased 17.4 per cent in 2018 and 20.9 percent over the past twelve months, representing over 1 million visitors this year. These figures represent huge increases when compared to a fall of 2.4 per cent nationally for market footfall.

Added Councillor Beacham: “We’ve seen significant investment across the borough including Barons Quay, Storyhouse, One City Place, Travelodge, Premier Inn, and Hotel Indigo. Heading into 2020 we’ll see the start of work in Ellesmere Port for a new hub building and bus zone plus work starting for Chester Northgate and construction starting at Chester racecourse. Across our borough, this council is investing in places for residents and visitors to spend time with friends and family, enjoy themselves and learn new things.”