Elevated view of the headrow and Leeds Town Hall at night


Full steam ahead for Leeds’ visitor economy performance

If you want to know what makes Leeds special and why more tourists than ever come to visit.Then look no further than the recent data from STEAM survey that measures the economic impact of the tourism industry. The City saw 26.21 million tourism visits in 2015, a 5.3% increase from 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%.

And it’s easy to see why. The current report measures data from 2013 to 2015. And during that period the city hosted major world class events such as the Rugby League World Cup in 2013, the most successful Grand Départ ever staged in 2014, the Rugby World Cup 2015, the MOBOs, British Art Show 8 and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Whilst also being home to a wealth of Museums and Galleries, an inspiring and vibrant cultural scene, sitting alongside strong heritage and history with a shopping destination currently ranked 5th in the UK.

Leeds has also enjoyed and shared the success of the award winning first direct arena which brings in one million extra visitors annually and Trinity Leeds, the newest shopping destination home to over 120 shops, café bars and restaurants.

VisitLeeds benefited from the VisitEngland Growing Tourism Locally Regional Growth Fund which helped to support the MagicalLeeds’ Christmas campaigns and subsequent food and drink, spring and summer campaigns, all aimed at attracting new visitors to the city to stay at least one night including a Friday or Saturday. It is the success of these campaigns together with an impressive programme of events that makes Leeds a destination of choice when planning a city break.

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.

And this means that the tourism industry 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.”