It’s more than temperatures rising in Leeds as visitor numbers hit record levels

11th July 2018

Visit Leeds have announced that data from the recent STEAM survey, which measures the economic impact of the tourism industry in the UK, recorded that Leeds welcomed 29.01 million tourism visits in 2017, a 6.3% increase from 2016.

As the city approaches yet another year of world-class events in 2019 including the Cricket World Cup, UCI World Championship Cycling and Yorkshire Sculpture International, the visitor economy sector is growing at an impressive rate with day visitors up by 6.5 % and overnight stays increasing by 3.6 %.

And it’s easy to see why Leeds is such a leading European city-break destination. The current report measures data from 2016 to 2017. And during that period the city hosted major world class events such as the ITU World Triathlon Series in June and Light Night in October; a two evening arts and light festival which, yet again, attracted record numbers. The diversity of the city is also reflected in the wider events programme, including the UK’s friendliest Pride and the Leeds West Indian Carnival which celebrated its 50th birthday last year.

Visit Leeds’ own research highlights the main reason to visit is the strength of the cultural scene coupled with an unrivalled shopping offer. The cultural pedigree of the city continues to thrive, Leeds is one of the only cities in the UK to have its own Opera and Ballet companies with both Opera North and Northern Ballet calling Leeds their home. The refurbishment of the newly named and critically acclaimed Leeds Playhouse will also continue to draw in more visitors both regionally and nationally. With such strong heritage and history, Leeds continues to flourish and has one of the fastest growing independent food and drink scenes in the UK.

Visit Leeds most recent campaign, delivered nationally and internationally, showcases the best of the city and inspires potential visitors to find out more and choose Leeds as their next European city-break destination. It is the success of similar campaigns together with an impressive programme of events, a thriving cultural offer and an unrivalled food and drink scene that makes Leeds a destination of choice when planning a city break.

Leisure tourism visits were estimated to have generated £1.74 billion in 2017, a change of +6.4% compared to 2016. And this means that the tourism industry plays a vital role in supporting more than 20,000 full time equivalent jobs which is an increase of 6% from 2016.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We are extremely proud and feel very fortunate to know that we live and work in a leading world-class European city and it’s excellent to see that these figures show that more people are coming to Leeds to see this for themselves. We have a fantastic reputation for being a welcoming city and for hosting world class events that people come from far and wide to enjoy. Tourism like this has a significant impact on the Leeds economy, helping to create and sustain jobs for people who live here, to ensure the city remains one of the most sought after visitor destinations in the UK.”

Find out more about summer in Leeds here

Download the infographic here