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Tourism Industry Thriving in Colchester

Date issued: September 2017

Tourism in Colchester continues to prosper, with its growth generating economic benefit in terms of spend and jobs across the Borough, latest independent statistics show.*

The latest statistics from 2016 show that:

  • The total value of tourism to Colchester Borough in 2016 = £345.3m - a 3% rise on 2015's figure of £335.1m
  • The value of pure visitor spend (daytrips, staying trips and associated spend only) to Colchester borough has risen by 317% from the 1993 base year of £63.1 million to £263.2m in 2016 - a 3.05% rise on 2015's figure of £255.4m; a £7.8m rise in financial terms
  • There was an additional £82.1m generated by tourism in local businesses supplying tourism businesses with goods and services (the multiplier effect) - this is a rise of 3% on 2015's figure of £79.7m
  • Colchester attracted over 6.3 million trips from visitors in 2016 (up 125% on the 1993 figure of 2.8 million).
  • Tourism supports 6410 actual jobs, a 3.5% rise on the 2015 figure of 6221 (up 138% on the 1993 figure of 2,685)

Figures show the number of daytrips to the Borough continues to rise steadily. There is also a noticeable trend in people spending more in 2016 than in the previous year - on both day-tripping and staying.

The investment in new hotels in the Borough has resulted in a growth in overnight stays - numbers of trips and number of nights spent have both risen.

Councillor Tim Young, the Council's Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture said : "There are few destinations in the East of England which can claim to have such fantastic tourism potential. We have really focused on championing Colchester as a top visitor destination, raising the profile of our historic town with both the 'I Spy' and current 'If Our Walls Could Talk' national tourism campaigns, which have proved extremely successful with Colcestrians and visitors to the Borough.

"These encouraging figures and the further planned improvements demonstrate our passion and intention to sustain and grow visitor activity, to retain our current visitor base and capitalise on the Colchester area's tourism potential."

Visit Colchester refreshed the popular Visitor Guide for 2017 with a new, sophisticated look and feel. It is distributed to Visitor Information Centres, ports, airports, train stations and hotels up and down the country, with a revised 2018 edition available from December 2017. In addition, there were over 650,000 visitors to the website in 2016.

The future for tourism looks bright as further growth in tourism is anticipated which will include the regeneration of Queen Street and St Botolph's with the opening of the Curzon Cinema in 2018, and other planned investments such as the £10m refurbishment of The George Hotel and extension in the former JJB Sports building opposite. In the longer term, the creation of the Colchester Northern Gateway sport and leisure destination will also make a significant contribution to the sector, which is being targeted for growth in the Council's Economic Growth Strategy (2015-21).