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Gloucestershire Business News

Cheltenham visitor numbers soar as Festival Town bucks the national trend

Cheltenham is proving more popular than ever with tourists, according to the latest set of visitor numbers.

A report into the value of the town's visitor economy has shown significant growth in both numbers and spending.

The number of day visitors to Cheltenham has increased by seven per cent, to 1.9 million, while the number of nights spent in the town has also risen, by six per cent to just under 1.1 million.

The visitor figures also highlight the importance of the overseas market to Cheltenham with international visitors growing at a faster rate with a 14 per cent rise in overnight stays.

In each case, Cheltenham has significantly outperformed the national trend which saw a drop in overnight trips and day visits over the same period.

Overall, it means that Cheltenham's visitor economy is now worth more than £162 million to the local economy.

The findings have been revealed by Marketing Cheltenham following the latest annual study by independent research specialists, The South West Research Company.

David Jackson, Marketing Cheltenham Manager, said: "These latest results are hugely encouraging and provide a welcome reminder of the significant contribution made by the tourism sector to Cheltenham's wider economy.

"The fact that these figures buck the national trend is particularly pleasing and is testament to the enduring appeal of Cheltenham's renowned shopping offer as well as its ever-expanding and world-class festivals and events programme."

Earlier this year, Marketing Cheltenham launched Cheltenham's new The Festival Town brand, helping to reposition its image and highlight the town's festivals, events and cultural offering.

Tracey Crews, Director of Planning at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "When Cheltenham Borough Council set up Marketing Cheltenham back in 2017, our ambition was to grow the value of Cheltenham's visitor economy by 5 per cent each year through to 2022.

"It's great to see that this investment is already starting to pay off.

"Looking ahead, there are huge opportunities on the horizon for Cheltenham and our outstanding cultural and tourism offer has a vital part to play in realising our place vision, attracting people to not only visit, but also to live, work and study here too."

Since forming in 2017 as a division of Cheltenham Borough Council, Marketing Cheltenham has led the town's destination marketing strategy under the banner of Visit Cheltenham.

Marketing Cheltenham also works in close partnership with Cheltenham BID, helping to deliver some of the town's major events and to encourage visitors into the town centre.

Kevan Blackadder, Director of Cheltenham BID, added: "There's never been any doubt that Cheltenham is a wonderful place to visit with so much going on.

"What we're getting much better at is in spreading that message. It's good to see that being reflected in increases in the number of visitors to the town."

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