NEW figures today revealed the eye-watering value of the tourist trade to the Leeds economy.
The city welcomed nearly 27 million people on holidays and other leisure trips during 2014 – a 7.8 per cent rise on 2013.
Their visits were worth £1.5bn to Leeds, up 9.4 per cent on the amount for 2013.
Today’s figures, released to the Yorkshire Post by Leeds City Council, also reveal that ‘leisure tourism’ supports more than 18,500 jobs.
And council chiefs are confident visitors will keep on flocking to the city to enjoy the wide range of retail, cultural and sporting attractions being celebrated by the YEP’s new Love Leeds campaign.
Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for economy and culture, said: “The Leeds economy has continued to thrive in the face of a challenging financial climate and we are now firmly established as one of the UK’s top destinations for shopping, business and leisure.
“This is clearly reflected in the incredible numbers of people wanting to visit and enjoy our city who provide a huge boost to our local economy and play a vital role in making Leeds such a lively and exciting place for us all to live and work. Landmark developments like Trinity Leeds and the First Direct Arena have already helped to put Leeds on the map and with upcoming projects like Victoria Gate along with world-class events including the British Art Show and the World Triathlon Series on the horizon, I’m sure the city will continue to flourish as one of the country’s top tourist destinations.”
Business-related visits to Leeds are also booming, with the city sitting pretty as the UK’s fifth most popular venue for conferences.
Yorkshire’s unofficial capital welcomed around 3.8 million delegates last year, generating nearly £450m for the local economy.
Taking leisure and business tourism together, around 370,000 of last year’s visitors hailed from foreign shores.
Spain, Holland, France and Germany are the countries whose tourists came to the city most frequently.
l Love Leeds has been launched to celebrate everything that is good about the city in the YEP’s 125th anniversary year.