Cllr Gordon Jackson, Lead Councillor for Economic Development, said: “We are delighted to have won and that Guildford has been recognised as a successful tourism area. Tourism is vital to the local economy, for both income and employment, and we hope this award will encourage more visitors to come to Guildford.”
Lee Stevenson of Tourism Network, said: "With such a fantastic array of attractions, shopping, heritage and events, Guildford is a destination with a truly fantastic tourism offering. The town benefits from having such a proactive tourism team, dedicated to embracing visitors from near and far and sharing in Guildford’s wide appeal. It’s an enjoyable experience for all that visit, and a worthy winner of this category."
A recent Cambridge Study, commissioned by Guildford Borough Council, showed that there were an estimated 315,000 trips to Guildford in 2012 where visitors stayed overnight. Of these 70% were domestic visitors and 30% from overseas - an increase of 8.3% in domestic and a 2.2% increase in overseas visitors. Visitors also spent more on their trip than in 2011 leading to a 15.6% increase in expenditure.
In 2012, there were over 4.4 million day trips to Guildford – an increase of 15.3% with visitor spending increased by 5.5%.
Tourism supports 4,075 jobs in Guildford – and when once part time and seasonal jobs are included, the total number of jobs related to tourism is 5,566, or 6.3% of jobs in Guildford.
The Guildford Tourist Information Centre, following on from their Silver award at the Beautiful South Awards, and now the Gold for Destination of the Year from Tourist Network, is planning to celebrate during English Tourism Week, which takes place from 29 March to 5 April.
Every day a different attraction will be at the Tourist Information Centre on Guildford High Street, talking to the visitors, with information on events, offers and goodies too.
The Tourist Information Centre is open Monday to Saturday – 9.30am to 5pm and admission is free.
Visitors can also take the opportunity to explore Guildford House Art Gallery, the craft shop and the Gallery Café during their visit.