Leeds welcomed more than 26 million tourists in 2015, a massive increase on previous figures and driven in the main by world-class events.
ConferenceLeeds and VisitLeeds hailed figures in a new STEAM survey, which measures the economic impact of the tourism industry in the UK, which showed the visitor economy sector is growing at an impressive rate with day visitors up by 4.7 per cent and overnight stays increasing by 12.5 per cent.
During the period between 2013 and 2015, the city hosted major world-class events such as the Rugby League World Cup in 2013, the Grand Départ, the Rugby World Cup 2015, the MOBOs, British Art Show 8 and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The figures are only set to improve with Leeds expected to jump from the fifth most popular shopping destination in the UK to third following the new Victoria Gate shopping centre opening.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “We know Leeds is a welcoming city, but these figures show the wider appeal to visitors coming for a leisure break or staying here on business. We have built up a fantastic reputation for hosting world-class events that people come from far and wide to enjoy. Tourism like this has a significant impact on the Leeds economy, helping to create and sustain jobs for people who live here.”
Whilst business tourism continues to grow and contributes £501m to the local economy, attracting around 4m delegates, leisure tourism visits were estimated to have generated £1.532bn in 2015, an increase of more than 10 per cent since 2013.