City of Culture visitor numbers hit record level

Performers dressed as angels take part in the Place des Anges spectacle in Hull, earlier this year. Visitor numbers are rising ahead it hosting  of City of Culture 2017.

Performers dressed as angels take part in the Place des Anges spectacle in Hull, earlier this year. Visitor numbers are rising ahead it hosting of City of Culture 2017.

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THE host city for UK City of Culture received a record 5.1m visits last year, according to new figures.

Research commissioned by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire says total trips have risen 6.4 per cent since 2012, making the local visitor economy worth £274m.

Spencer Tunick’s recent naked mass art installation saw all the city’s hotels full as thousands flocked to Hull to take part, and another 1m visitors are expected next year.

The figures also show a three per cent rise in domestic overnight trips, three per cent in overseas visits and five per cent in day trips.

Day trip expenditure saw a five per cent increase to £148.8m, whilst £206.4m was spent on trips to Hull in 2015 by overnight and day visitors, up four per cent in the last year alone.

There are now 5,915 people are now employed in tourism, up 618, from 2012.

Manageress of the Mayfair Hotel Alexandra Stevens said: “We are nearly always full, whether that’s during the week with contractors or on the weekend. When you ask a lot more people say: ‘I’m coming for a look round.’

“You have a lot of people coming for the Deep and the Freedom Festival.”

The 19-bedroomed hotel is adding three bedrooms for next year, Ms Stevens added: “Sometimes you could fill it twice over.”

Sales manager at the Village Hotel Elly Taylor said they’d enjoyed a “really good couple of years” buoyed by companies investing in the offshore wind sector.

She added: “We didn’t usually attract national and international events in the past. We are much more of an actual destination now - compared with being somewhere you would go if you couldn’t get in anywhere else.”

Earlier this year Rough Guides said “things were looking up” for the city, recommending it as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2016 - along with Nashville, Mexico City and Vancouver.

Anthony Yates, Tourism Manager for Visit Hull and East Yorkshire said: “It is incredibly encouraging to see visits to Hull on the rise and the contribution to the local economy and job creation offers a real boost to the city.

“The recent positive press we’ve had from national and international tourism bodies and travel bloggers are helping to change old perceptions of the city and as 2017 nears.”

Chief executive of Hull 2017 Martin Green added: “These figures are a fantastic boost for Hull as it prepares to welcome even more visitors from across the country and around the world in 2017.

“Being UK City of Culture is an unprecedented opportunity to build on that momentum.”

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