Leeds City Council hails surprise tourism boost

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Tourism has proved to be one of the most successful sectors for Leeds City Council over the last 12 months.

The city centre and wider district has seen 26 million visitors - whether that be to stately homes such as Harewood House, city museums like the Royal Armouries or to conference facilities.

In one of the year’s more surprising statistics, Leeds is now fifth in the UK’s conference destinations.

Tom Bridges, the chief officer for economy and regeneration told City Buzz: “That is a really remarkable achievement given we don’t have a purpose built centre.

“But visitors to that spend quite a lot in hotels, restaurants and shops and put a lot of money back into the economy and that is really positive news for the city.”

The level of inward investment has also been key for council targets with Leeds now being placed as the second most successful city outside of London behind Manchester

It has primarily come from foreign companies setting up in Leeds or establishing manufacturing plants here.

Mr Bridges said that aside from the obvious Victoria scheme, another that the authority were most pleased about is the start of the Kirkstall Forge project.

As well as the new station, there is to be 1000 new homes, 300, 000 sq ft of office development (the first to be finished next Autumn) and retail and leisure space on top.

Mr Bridges added: “It has been great to see that scheme start. The council helped to fund the station and that will be paid back by the developer as the scheme fills out.”

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