Tourism boom in Derby sees it make top 20 in visitor list
TOURISM is booming in Derby – with the city now in the top-20 list of places experiencing high visitor numbers.
Research by Visit England suggests nearly nine million people, excluding shoppers, travelled to Derby in 2011 for a day or evening out.
Experts say those visitors boosted the city's economy by about £342 million – an increase of 9% on the figures for 2010.
Economists say it has helped safeguard thousands of jobs in Derby.
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More hotels, better transport links and state-of-the-art developments such as Riverlights have helped the city attract more people, according to the tourism body.
Derby's "fantastic heritage and cutting-edge culture" helped it enter Visit England's top-20 list of tourist cities.
Paul Bayliss, the leader of Derby City Council, said he was delighted at the research findings.
He said: "Derby is fast becoming a top destination for events, shopping, history and culture and a great place to stay for the nationally significant attractions on our doorstep, including the glorious Peak District and Derbyshire."
Mr Bayliss added the figures showed the council was right to invest in huge projects such as the multi-sport arena now being built at Pride Park.
He said: "Developing and delivering our visitor economy strategy is key to creating a thriving, sustainable economy for Derby, bringing more visitors to spend in local businesses.
"Now more than ever, it is crucial that we continue to invest in Derby's tourism offer. The new arena will offer state-of-the-art sporting, exhibition and concert facilities, which I am confident will further stimulate our visitor economy."
The increase in the number of people visiting Derby is highlighted by the number searching for information about the city on the internet.
In 2011, the www.visitderby. co.uk website saw a 41% increase in users compared with the previous year.
Visits to the site are still growing, demonstrating an rising interest in the city.
Over 8,000 subscribers have signed up to the Visit Derby e-shot to receive regular news.
When the Olympic Torch came to the city, the website received the largest number of hits in any one day – 3,176.
Of the non-Derby residents who were monitored, 13% were from Europe, 6% from North America, 5% from Australasia and 3% from Asia.
Of the remaining users not from Derby, 30% were from the Midlands and 38% from elsewhere in the UK.
John Forkin, the managing director of Marketing Derby, said that it was very welcoming news that more people were visiting the city.
He said: "The figures are very reassuring and show that we are heading in the right direction. We still have a long way to go as a city but we are getting there.
"And these figures show that we are doing it right.
"Over the last few years, Derby has welcomed some great new retail and leisure venues, like Quad, hotels and the Westfield Centre.
"Quad is visited by 300,000 people each year and Westfield has 25 million visitors, all coming from far and wide.
"There are many, many hotels that have started up, opening up another 500 beds in the city alone, many of which are occupied each night.
"Derby is a city moving in the right direction, giving people from across the country something different to come and visit.
"We have a lot of heritage to be proud of and want to share that with the whole country."