Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Cheshire and Warrington tourism chiefs "cautiously optimistic” for a successful 2024


Figures show 50m+ people flocked to the region in one year

Cheshire and Warrington tourism chiefs today said they were “cautiously optimistic” for a successful 2024 - amid figures showing more than 50 million people flocked to the region to enjoy its world-class tourism offering in just one year.

Analysis by Marketing Cheshire from the latest STEAM economic impact report shows the region’s visitor economy is now valued at £3.41bn.

And post-pandemic visitor numbers, tourism jobs and the number of tourists continue to rise across Cheshire and Warrington despite ongoing sector challenges ranging from high energy costs and food prices to recruitment and supply chain issues.

The encouraging figures have also been bolstered with separate data showing rising footfall.

Tourism officials today pledged to continue working with businesses and their dedicated workforces locally, and with national bodies including Visit England, to collectively promote a destination blessed with world-class tourism attractions. They are as diverse as the Roman history and the world’s oldest racecourse in Chester, a theme park in Warrington (Gulliver’s World), the wonderful Chester Zoo, an UNESCO World Heritage site (Jodrell Bank’s Discovery Centre), the beautiful Tatton Park, and muddled mazes of BeWILDerwood set in 70 acres of enchanted woodland next to the historic Cholmondeley Castle. 

The STEAM figures show that in 2022 the region’s visitor economy was worth £3.41bn, up 16% on the previous year, and the pull of the region’s attractions saw Cheshire welcome 50.2m visitors in 2022 - nearly six million more than the 44.33m recorded in 2021.

The analysis shows that over the same period overnight stays increased year-on-year across Cheshire and in some parts of the region eclipsed figures recorded before the pandemic.

Cheshire West and Chester visitors also rose from 24.5m in 2021 to 28.69m in 2022 –a 17.1% rise. This helped its visitor economy value increase by 19.9% over the same period to £1.99bn

In Cheshire East the visitor economy value rose 11% from the previous year to £879.3m with annual visitors rising by 8% from 11.85m in 2021 to 12.8m in 2022.

In Warrington its visitor economy was valued at £539.41m in 2022 up 10% on the previous year. Visitors also shot up from 7.98m in 2021 to 8.71m in 2022 – a 9.2% year-on-year rise.

Employment in the visitor economy continued to grow across Cheshire with 34,998 jobs in 2022 – up 13.2% on 2021.

And the number of people choosing to stay in one of the region’s fabulous hotels, guest houses and other exceptional accommodation providers also shot up between 2021 and 2022 across Cheshire to 3.6m - a 31% rise.

Rises were enjoyed in all the region’s local authority areas with the number of staying visitors in Cheshire West and Chester in 2022 rising by 37.5% to 1.6m - beating the 1.55m figure recorded pre-covid in 2019.

Trevor Brocklebank, Chair of Marketing Cheshire said: “While we must remain focused, we’re very excited by the results of the report. It is great news that the sector is bouncing back post pandemic and highlights the hard work of businesses, the continued pull of our world class tourism offering, and the billions they generate for the Cheshire and Warrington economy.”

Tourism and business officials also welcomed the continued post-covid growth which comes amid footfall figures released showing as of December 30, 2023, the total number of visitors to Chester for the year to date was 16,585,234 - which is 1.9% up on the previous year.

Steven Hesketh, CEO of the Savvy Hotels Group and owner of the Townhouse on Lower Bridge Street, Chester said: “The STEAM figures together with encouraging footfall figures makes me cautiously optimistic that we are all headed in the right direction.”

And Eleanor Underhill, Chair of Destination Cheshire said the figures were “testament to the enduring magic of Cheshire and the warm welcome provided” and added: “It is encouraging to see the positive increase over the last few years and we’re looking forward to seeing these increase again in the 2023 report.

“Through collaboration and shared experience, the members of the Destination Cheshire network will continue to work together to reaffirm Cheshire's position as a thriving destination.”