Tourism targets set for 2020 by Leicester City Council have been beaten four years ahead of schedule, according to the 2016 figures.
The council’s Tourism Action Plan, which was drawn up in 2015, aimed to generate £590 million from tourism in the city by 2020. But just a year later in 2016, that goal was exceeded as tourism generated a whopping £606 million.
It is believed that two remarkable stories in King Richard III and Leicester City’s shock Premier League victory in 2016 have both aided the city’s tourism success.
A report released by the council showed that the city’s museums and heritage sites attracted over 417,000 visitors in 2016, whilst the King Richard III Visitor Centre welcomed 70,000 customers.
Sarah Harrison, Leicester City Council’s city centre director, said:
“We are definitely seeing an increase in a number of people across coming (from Leicester) the country and importantly, internationally, which we never had before.
“Leicester used to be a one-night stay and we are seeing evidence now from the hotels that it is now a two to three-night stay.”
Roads such as Hotel Street and St Martin’s have seen plenty of private investment which has including the rebirth of two former banks which now home Delilah Fine Foods and Middleton’s Steak and Grillhouse. The council say that new businesses in the area has created over 100 new jobs.
Delilah Fine Foods’ general manager, Sam Skinner-Watts, said:
“We see more people coming in all of the time, new people, people that don’t know we exist and certainly don’t know that this independent bit of Leicester exists.
“Leicester City FC winning the Premier League as well, is bringing a lot more new people into the city and certainly saw a lot more tourism come through when they were in the Champions League.”
The council say their attentions have now turned to improving current facilities, with the former Haymarket Theatre due to reopen in 2018 as a venue for activities including eSports, live music and theatrical training.