Cheshire visitor economy value rises to £3.41bn

Tourism leaders in Cheshire and Warrington are ‘cautiously optimistic’ for 2024 as new data shows value of visitor economy is up 16% to £3.41bn. Tony McDonough reports

Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo alone attracts 1.9m visitors a year. Picture by Tony McDonough


There has been a 16% year-on-year increase in the value of Cheshire and Warrington’s visitor economy.

Latest data from STEAM, the main source for UK tourism statistics, shows tourism generated £3.41bn in 2022. It also shows visitor numbers were also up to 50.2m, almost 6m more than the 44.33m recorded in 2021.

Marketing Cheshire, the local tourism body, are “cautiously optimistic” for the prospects of the sector for 2024 despite ongoing sector challenges such as high energy costs and food prices to recruitment and supply chain issues.

They have pledged to continue working with businesses and their dedicated workforces locally, and with national bodies including Visit England, to collectively promote a destination blessed with tourism attractions.

They are as diverse as the Roman history and world’s oldest racecourse in Chester, a theme park in Warrington (Gulliver’s World), Chester Zoo, an UNESCO World Heritage site (Jodrell Bank’s Discovery Centre), the Tatton Park, and muddled mazes of BeWILDerwood.

Analysis also shows that over the same period overnight stays increased year-on-year across Cheshire and in some parts of the region eclipsed figures recorded before the pandemic.

Cheshire West and Chester visitors also rose from 24.5m in 2021 to 28.69m in 2022 –a 17.1% rise. This helped its visitor economy value increase by 19.9% over the same period to £1.99bn

In Cheshire East the visitor economy value rose 11% from the previous year to £879.3m with annual visitors rising by 8% from 11.85m in 2021 to 12.8m in 2022.

In Warrington its visitor economy was valued at £539.41m in 2022 up 10% on the previous year. Visitors also shot up from 7.98m in 2021 to 8.71m in 2022 – a 9.2% year-on-year rise.

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Employment in the visitor economy continued to grow across Cheshire with 34,998 jobs in 2022 – up 13.2% on 2021.

Trevor Brocklebank, chair of Marketing Cheshire, said: “While we must remain focused, we’re very excited by the results of the report.

“It is great news that the sector is bouncing back post pandemic and highlights the hard work of businesses, the continued pull of our world class tourism offering, and the billions they generate for the Cheshire and Warrington economy.”

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