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ConferenceLeeds and VisitLeeds announce strong results for Leeds visitor economy

ConferenceLeeds and VisitLeeds have announced that data from the recent STEAM survey, which measures the economic impact of the tourism industry in the UK, recorded that Leeds welcomed 26.21 million tourism visits in 2015, a 5.3% increase since 2013. The visitor economy sector is growing at an impressive rate with day visitors up by 4.7% and overnight stays increasing by 12.5 %.

• During the period between 2013 and 2015, the city hosted major world-class events such as the Rugby League World Cup in 2013, the most successful Grand Départ for the Tour de France in 2014, the Rugby World Cup 2015, the MOBOs, British Art Show 8 and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
• Being home to a wealth of museums and galleries, such as Harewood House, the Henry Moore Institute and The Royal Armouries National Museum of Arms and Armour, Leeds has a strong heritage and history.
• The city also boasts an inspiring and vibrant cultural scene, with its shopping destination currently ranked 5th in the UK, and set to jump to third this year as the new Victoria Gate shopping centre opens.
• Leeds has also enjoyed and shared the success of the award winning first direct arena since its development in 2013, which is one of the largest conference venues in the city and brings in one million extra visitors annually.
• Leeds also plays host to Trinity Leeds, which opened in 2013 and is home to over 120 shops, café bars and restaurants.
• The investment in the city over the past three years has seen Leeds fast become one of the UKs leading conferencing destinations.
• VisitLeeds commissioned the STEAM survey and the benchmark data is shared with core UK cities.
• Whilst business tourism continues to grow and contributes £501m to the local economy, attracting around 4 million delegates, leisure tourism visits were estimated to have generated £1.532 billion in 2015, a change of +10.7% compared to 2013.
• These figures reflect that the tourism industry in Leeds plays a vital role in supporting more than 18,000 full time equivalent jobs, which is an increase of 4% from 2013.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: We know Leeds is a welcoming city, but these figures show the wider appeal to visitors coming for a leisure break or staying here on business. We have built up a fantastic reputation for hosting world-class events that people come from far and wide to enjoy. Tourism like this has a significant impact on the Leeds economy, helping to create and sustain jobs for people who live here. We hope to really build on this with the bid for the European Capital of Culture in 2023, to ensure the city remains one of the most sought after visitor destinations in the UK.

Jennifer Young, Head of ConferenceLeeds, added: This year’s results are a true testament to the ongoing collaboration of city stakeholders that takes place throughout the city. We work hard on creating bespoke conferences in order to leave a lasting impression on organisers and delegates; with the overall aim being to convert business tourists into leisure tourists and drive repeat visits to the city. Having already held several large-scale conferences in the city this year, and with several more in the pipeline, we’re excited to see Leeds go from strength to strength.

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