Maidstone’s visitor economy continued to thrive in 2017, according to research released this week.
Maidstone Borough Council is delighted to report that independent research (commissioned by Visit Kent), showed that the value of Maidstone’s visitor economy shot up by 8.7% in 2017 and is now worth over £283 million.
Visits to the district increased by 7.9% in 2017 to 4.5 million trips, with 4.1 million day trips and nearly half a million overnight stays.
The total number of jobs supported by tourism grew by 8.3% to 5,909, with the industry accounting for 8% of total employment in the Maidstone district.
The tourism picture was healthy across the county in 2017, despite the challenges presented by ongoing Brexit negotiations and wet weather during the summer. Kent welcomed 65 million visitors in 2017, and the visitor economy’s value leapt by 7% to £3.8 billion.
Cllr Paul Harper, Chair of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee said:
“As residents of Maidstone, we know that it's a great town and countryside to live in. Visitors are continuing to discover our borough in increasing numbers. This is also great for local jobs and our economy. It's amazing how many jobs are supported by tourism. This is a great local success story.”
The Garden of England welcomed a record 64,970,000 visitors throughout 2017 with the county’s tourism industry accounting for 76,828 jobs. Across Kent, visitor numbers rose compared to the previous year with the highest volume of day trips, value of tourism and tourism related jobs recorded.
Kent also remains the third most visited destination outside of London for foreign visitors.
Chief executive of Visit Kent, Deirdre Wells OBE said:
“Tourism is the UK’s fastest growing service sector and these figures demonstrate the contribution which our vital industry makes to the economy of Kent. With our stunning countryside, world-class heritage, and delicious locally sourced food and drink, it is no surprise that visitor numbers are increasing in districts like Maidstone year on year."
“The collective efforts of tourism businesses across the county have paid dividends and this partnership will be critical in ensuring that this growth continues during a challenging year ahead.”
“These figures demonstrate that, wherever you are based in Kent, tourism can bring growth, prosperity and jobs to your community. Our challenge going forward will be to turn more of our day visits into overnight stays and short breaks, bringing even further growth to the county.”
The research uses the industry-respected Cambridge Economic Impact Model to measure the volume and value of tourism, and the impact of visits and visitor expenditure on the local economy. Studies were carried out across each of Kent’s districts to build an accurate picture of tourism performance in the county.
Since 2006, the value of Kent’s tourism industry has risen by 33%.
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