Yorkshire defies recession and rain with 16pc surge in tourist trips to region

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The number of visitors to Yorkshire has increased – in spite of a tough year nationally.

Trips to the region were up 16.3 per cent for the period September 2011 to August 2012 according to the official Great Britain Travel Survey.

Spending rose by 13.5 per cent and overnight stays increased by 11.5 per cent during the same period.

Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We know it’s been a tough year for many tourism businesses with the weather and economic climate, but these stats are an indication that our innovative marketing and our thousands of incredible tourism businesses are paying dividends and showing we are strongest when we work together.

“Combine this with our world award shortlistings, and Yorkshire is now without doubt one of the world’s leading destinations and bucking the UK trend during what has been a very challenging summer for many businesses. By working together we can deal with the tough times, get real results and continue to position Yorkshire as a leading destination.”

Despite the weather this summer, many attractions have seen positive increases in visitor numbers including Eureka! the National Children’s Museum in Halifax.

Chief executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski said: “We were delighted to welcome 42,691 visitors through Eureka!’s doors this August – an increase of more than 11 per cent on the same period in 2011 and a great boost for our summer-long family fun festival, Playfest.

“Our visitors really helped us celebrate our 20th birthday in style and thanks to this success we’ll be repeating Playfest again next year. With our new £2.9m All About Me gallery opening in spring 2013, replacing our hugely popular Me & My Body gallery, it’s onwards and upwards for 2013.”

The figures follow a series of major national marketing campaigns launched by Welcome to Yorkshire to increase visitor numbers and help grow the economy during the tough economic climate and a wet summer.

Campaigns included product placement promoting the county in Emmerdale.

Welcome to Yorkshire is now up for two tourism Oscars at the World Travel Awards on December 12, for World’s Leading Marketing Campaign and World’s Leading Tourist Board.