Lancashire visitor economy generates an additional £136m in 2014

Marketing Lancashire has released the official visitor and economic impact figures for Lancashire 2014, which confirm six years of continued growth in the visitor economy and Lancashire’s increasing popularity as a destination for short breaks.

The number of nights spent by visitors in the county grew by 2.3 per cent with an average stay of 3.1 nights. This increase in visitor nights has also helped towards an overall increase of 3.8 per cent in total visitor spend of £136m to £3.68bn.

The three top volume areas in the county all saw growth in 2014. Blackpool accounting for the largest proportion, welcoming 16.8m visitors and helping to generate £1.33bn economic impact. Lancaster follows Blackpool with 7.1m visitors, generating £415m economic impact and Preston welcomed 6.6m visitors, generating £284m economic impact.

Over 8.1m visitors stayed in Lancashire as part of a holiday or short break, generating 24.7m (+2.3 per cent) nights spent in accommodation across the county.

Lancashire’s visitor economy continues to support around one in ten jobs across Lancashire, employing over 56,000 people. Lancashire’s new Visitor Economy Strategy, due to be launched early in the autumn, will support the sector’s future success and, together with a new Skills Action Plan for the visitor economy, will set out a consolidated vision and plans to support sector growth, including new jobs, over the next five years.

Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: "It is encouraging to see growth continue across Lancashire particularly in visitors staying longer and spending more money in the county. A day is simply not long enough to enjoy all that Lancashire has to offer and if day visitors, who still represent 87 per cent of all visitors, have a great time then the best news is that they want to come back to stay even longer.

“This growth is testament to the investment, commitment and hard work of Lancashire businesses who are constantly trying to improve the experience for visitors and deliver excellent customer service.

“It is also important to acknowledge the many accountants, solicitors, HR specialists, recruiters, colleges, universities, food producers, banks, creative agencies, IT companies and industry suppliers who support our tourism businesses and work in partnership with them to achieve more for Lancashire.

“2015 looks set to be another bumper year for tourism with several new and larger events taking place across the county. Our ambition is to continue to raise Lancashire’s profile to attract more visitors to the destination by focusing on our key strengths; food and drink, the great outdoors and heritage and culture, which give the county its distinct character and wide appeal.” The STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) model used by most DMOs, uses locally derived data from a variety of sources such as hotels, attractions, tourist information centres, events and other accommodation to estimate the number of visitors, revenue generated and employment supported by tourism. The STEAM model, used since 2009, provides the county with a continuous tourism economic impact data set which helps pinpoint trends, highlight areas of particular growth or those in need of support.