NEW figures today confirmed Leeds as one of the country’s most popular places for a day out.
Nearly 25m people made day trips to the city in 2011, according to research conducted by tourism agency VisitEngland.
That figure was the fourth highest in the United Kingdom, beaten only by the totals for Manchester and the London boroughs of Westminster and City of London.
VisitEngland estimates the annual value of Leeds’s day visitor economy at £655m.
Today’s figures were welcomed by Leeds City Council’s executive board member for leisure and skills, Coun Adam Ogilvie.
He also stressed, however, that the city many regard as Yorkshire’s unofficial capital had no intention of resting on its laurels.
And Coun Ogilvie pinpointed the new Leeds concert arena and the Trinity Leeds shopping development – which are both due to open next year – as reasons why the city’s tourism trade can face the future with confidence.
He said: “This success is a reflection of a strongly focused effort by the public and private sectors working together to ensure visitors have a great experience when they come to Leeds and make the most of the tremendous cultural offer in terms of art, theatre, museums, music, parks, sport, restaurants and shopping.
“Our long-term vision is for Leeds to be seen as the best city in the UK, and so with the Leeds arena and Trinity Leeds both opening next year we need to continue working hard to ensure Leeds is seen as a must-visit location by people from all over the world.”
VisitEngland chief executive James Beresford said: “Tourism has long been a key economic driver for the UK and this survey represents a very important piece of the domestic tourism jigsaw.
“Day visits are enormously important to the industry and I am not surprised that Leeds is performing so well.
“It’s a fantastic English city with great character and an amazing array of high quality visitor attractions and facilities. It’s a must-see destination.”
The tourism industry is estimated to support more than 25,000 jobs in Leeds.