Could Brexit put a dent in vital Leeds tourism trade?

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Leeds council chiefs are launching a major action plan to turn the city into a global tourism magnet.

But could the way the E.U referendum vote goes on June 23 be the vital factor in our achieving that status?

The council’s cabinet will be told at a meeting tomorrow, 24 hours before the nation goes to the polls, that the Leeds visitor economy - already worth £1.5bn a year - is experiencing huge growth which “supports and is critical to” the wider Leeds economy.

Visitor numbers and tourism spending in Leeds is “growing rapidly, at a faster rate than the national average”, they will be told,

However a report to the panel also notes there has been a 24 per cent increase in international visitors to Leeds, with Spain, Netherlands, France and Germany being four of the top five countries of visitor origin.

Leeds currently attracts around 27 million visitors a year, with tourism supporting around 18,500 jobs.

The report to the executive board. which lays out the city’s tourism-boosting action plan for the next year, adds: “Tourism is a significant and growing sector of the Leeds economy and a major contributory factor to the success of the city benefitting everyone who lives and works here.”

Earlier this year, a study by trade association UKinbound found that more than four out of five tourism firms believe staying in the EU is important to their businesses. The organisation’s chairman, Mark McVay, said Britain’s tourism industry “thrives on collaboration with our European neighbours”.

A survey of 8,000 people by TravelZoo earlier this year also found a third of Italian, Spanish and German travellers would be less likely to travel to the UK if it was no longer a member of the EU. However it also found respondents from some nations – notably France – believe that leaving the EU could make the UK a safer destination for holidays.

Rachel Reeves, Leeds West MP and former junior chess champion, during her visit toWhingate Primary School with Grand Master Malcolm Pein, Chief Executive of CSC, to support of Chess in Schools and Communities.
Picture shows Malcolm Pein and Rachel Reeves taking part in a simul against 16 children.
Rachel will joined children of the school in a chess lesson and give a simultaneous exhibition, playing the best players from the school.
 Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) is a UK charity whose mission is to improve childrens educational outcomes and social development by introducing them to the game of chess.
16 November 2017.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Founded in 2009, CSC now teaches in over 300 schools and supports 500 more nationwide including 13 in Leeds, teaching around 1000 children each week how to play the game in classroom lessons and after-school clubs.

Chess ace Leeds MP drops into school for eight games at once