Staffordshire tourism is continuing to boom.
According to the latest figures, there were more than 26.2 million visits to the county in 2017, made up of 24.6 million day trips and 1.6 million overnight stays – an increase of 1.9% on 2016.
A study commissioned by Destination Staffordshire has revealed the total annual value of the tourism sector has surpassed £1.8 billion.
The number of jobs supported by the industry grew 1.7% to a new high of 31,720, making tourism the fourth biggest employer in the county, according to the ONS Business Register & Employment Survey.
The value of the industry has increased by almost 50% since 2007, when tourism was worth £1.2 billion to the county’s economy.
Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member responsible for tourism at Staffordshire County Council and Vice Chair of Destination Staffordshire said:
“Our tourism businesses continue to do a great job, generating millions of pounds per week for the local economy and sustaining tens of thousands of jobs.
“Our tourism economy is booming, now worth over £1.8 billion, and we’re very pleased with the increase on last year’s figures.
“We really are a great county to visit with something for everyone and we’ll continue to work closely with all our attractions and providers to attract even more people to Staffordshire.”
Visitors are also staying in Staffordshire for longer. The number of bed nights grew 2.8% to 4.8 million, with the average number of nights per stay increasing from two to three.
To help grow and develop the local tourism industry further, The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Destination Staffordshire have commissioned a wide-ranging study of the county’s visitor accommodation provision.
This will help identify gaps in the market and potential future development opportunities.