Tourism contributed nearly £2 billion to the Peak District and Derbyshire economy last year, new data has revealed.
Research by Global Tourism Solutions (UK) Ltd confirmed the area’s tourist economy was continuing on an upward curve, making solid progress since 2009 despite the challenging financial climate.
The industry’s value to the local economy increased from £1.47 billion in 2009 to more than £1.9 billion last year – an increase of five per cent on £1.8 billion in 2013 - while the number of full-time equivalent jobs it supported rose to 27,720 in 2014, compared with 25,285 in 2009.
Visitor numbers increased by more than 800,000 to reach more than 38.8 million in 2014, compared with 38 million in 2013 and 36.25 million in 2009. The number of nights staying visitors spend in the area also rose, from around 9.8 million in 2009 to more than 10.8 million in 2014.
Jo Dilley, Director of Peak District & Derbyshire, the area’s official tourist board, said it was reassuring that, in spite of tough economic times, tourism continued to thrive and make a key contribution to the local and regional economy.
“We’re particularly pleased that visitor numbers are up and that there’s a gradual increase in the total number of nights they stay, helping to add five per cent more value to the area’s economy from 2013 to 2014,” she continued.
“The latest figures also reveal that more people are visiting at traditionally quiet times, such as post-Christmas, early spring and autumn, which is excellent news, as our marketing campaigns consistently emphasize that we are the ideal destination for a short break or longer holiday at any time of year.”
Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, said it was crucial the increased visitor spending led to better paid jobs for local people.
“A thriving visitor economy plays an important role in maintaining the economic health of our area – indeed our accommodation providers, attractions, pubs, cafés and shops rely on it to support jobs and livelihoods,” he added.
“Our goal is to further increase the value of the sector and visitor spend by helping local businesses exploit growth markets such as cycle tourism, improving the quality of the visitor experience and promoting the area as a wonderful destination at any time of the year.”