Winchester City Council and Tourism South East, founding members of the local Destination Management Partnership, have released the latest figures relating to tourism performance in Winchester and the results show that the value of tourism has risen by 42% in five years, adding £100m to the local economy.
Over the last five years Winchester’s performance in all key areas has shown steady growth – but the 2013 statistics for some criteria show the destination as performing particularly strongly against national indicators. The Winchester Economic Impact Survey showed that the number of day trips rose from 4.9m in 2012 to 5.5m in 2013 – the first time the City’s visitor numbers have tipped the 5m threshold. This is particularly strong because the 12% increase flies in the face of a national trend that has seen the volume of day trips falling by 7% in the same period (from 1,712m in 2012 to 1,588m in 2013). Overall the economic value of tourism has grown by £100m over the last 5 years – a 42% increase for the sector. The number of jobs supported, which dipped in 2012 during the recession, has now recovered to highest level yet at 5,350 jobs.
Cllr Robert Humby, Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Prosperity and Tourism, added: “The growth that Winchester has seen in tourism in recent years has been down to a strong partnership between local business people and a team of committed professionals continuously evolving the ‘Visit Winchester’ brand, the quality of our product and the service we give. The City Council recognises the value of this sector to the economy by committing £370,000 a year to its continued support. Figures like this show that the investment pays off and I would like to thank my colleagues in the tourism team for all their hard work.”
Ellen Simpson, Winchester City Council’s Head of Tourism, said: “The success story here is down to a shared commitment between Winchester City Council and local businesses. We jointly invest in a successful PR consortium that has netted over £3m-worth of column inches in the national media over the last 5 years. We also now enjoy strong links with Visit England and Visit Britain who have helped put us on the map by including Winchester in the itineraries of their national and international familiarisation trips and campaigns. We’ve had to learn to work smarter and that has included working across political boundaries and working with the South Downs National Park with joint stories. The accent is now on managing and sustaining this growth in the future via the Visit Winchester and Heart of Hampshire Destination Management Plan – a strategy created in consultation with residents, businesses and neighbouring authorities which will be published shortly.”