New figures released by Cheltenham Borough Council show that the tourism economy in Cheltenham during 2016 was worth £158m to the local economy, a 3% rise on the previous year.
The report states that UK trips to Cheltenham are up by 6% and visitor spend is up by 16% on the previous year at £21.5m. There are fewer day visitors coming to the town, down by 2%, but they are spending more with a 7% increase on the previous year. There are 3,607 people employed within the industry in Cheltenham which is an 11% increase since 2014.
Other key stats include:
367,200 Staying visitor trips
1,008,000 Staying visitor nights
£77,647,000 Staying visitor spend
1,845,000 Day visits
£74,009,000 Day visitor spend
£151,656,000 Direct visitor spend
£6,294,000 Other related spend
Cheltenham is home to the renowned Cheltenham Festival, four days of horse jump racing culminating in the Gold Cup, held annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse. It's also known for Regency buildings, including the Pittville Pump Room, a remnant of Cheltenham’s past as a spa town. There's fine art at The Wilson museum, and the Victorian Everyman Theatre to visit.
Steve Jordan, council leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, said, 'We are delighted to see growth in the tourism economy and really appreciate the efforts of all those businesses involved in helping bring visitors to the town.'
'We really value our tourism sector and as such have invested in the new collaboration Marketing Cheltenham with Cheltenham Tourism Partnership. From this we now have a five-year strategy to further grow our visitor economy and we are excited by the work which is already beginning to take shape.'
Marketing Cheltenham is a collaboration with the Cheltenham Tourism Partnership which was launched in late 2017 to grow the visitor economy of Cheltenham by 5% year on year by 2022. The Tourism Partnership includes Cheltenham Borough Council, Cheltenham BID, The Jockey Club, University of Gloucestershire, The Cheltenham Trust, The Chamber of Commerce, Cheltenham Festivals, Cheltenham Hospitality Association.
The strategy aims to promote Cheltenham on a national and international level, increasing the number of visitors to the town and extending their stay.
Kelly Ballard, Manager of Marketing Cheltenham, said, 'We are currently working with Cheltenham BID to promote the town centre and their event programme. Other work in progress includes a new destination website www.visitcheltenham.com, the development of new stories, tours and packages around the heritage, food, cultural offer as well as a review of the Tourist Information Service.'