Winchester nudges the 5m visitor mark

Press Release: 04/12/2013

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Latest research from Tourism South East shows that the growth of tourism in Winchester has grown by at least 22% since 2008 and visitors are spending more per visit although their stays are shorter, in line with international tourism trends.

According to the Economic Impact of Tourism study commissioned by Winchester City Council, 2012 was the strongest year yet for tourism in Winchester. The number of visits made to Winchester is now over 4.9m as opposed to almost 4m in 2008 and 4.2m in 2010. This 22% jump in the last two years has added an additional £172m to the local economy between 2010 and 2012 and the next survey, due to be carried out in 2014, is expected to show the total exceed 5m.

Although people are staying for less time – 2.41 nights in 2012 as opposed to 2.55 nights in 2010, they are spending 13.6% more per trip while they are here which also contributes to the marked increase in value of tourism to the local economy. The impact of these trends on businesses across the district is estimated to be a 6% increase in turnover since 2010 – raising the value of the industry locally up to £308m compared £292m in 2010.

Ellen Simpson, Head of Tourism at Winchester City Council said,

We are delighted to see that Winchester’s tourism economy continues to prosper. Our local support model - a Destination Management Partnership based on collaboration between the private sector; Winchester City Council; Tourism South East; and the South Downs National Park; means we are able to continually build value into the Visit Winchester brand using business investment and significant support from the Council. Our aim over the last six years has been to create measurable and sustainable growth in the sector in a way that both enhances the visitor experience and also creates a positive impact on the bottom line of local businesses. Looking at these figures, we’re still on track – and the work does not stop, we’re building a new responsive website and will be developing sophisticated Apps to help us to keep evolving. Of course we are also continuing to work hard on product development with a series of military themed campaigns of 2014 and we are working with Visit England to create a ten year strategy to consolidate the way we develop the destination into the future.

Winchester City Council’s Deputy Leader who holds the portfolio for Economic Prosperity, Cllr Robert Humby, said:

Winchester City Council invests over £370,000 in tourism annually and we are delighted to see a return on investment that continues to build real results on the ground. The Destination Management Partnership we founded is an outcome-focused grouping of agencies, authorities and private sector businesses that have stripped aside district boundaries and traditional remits in order to speak more coherently to our visitors about our sense of place locally and all there is to experience here. Winchester City Council’s tourism service is at the centre of this enterprising partnership and I would like to congratulate the team and all the partners they work with for their dedication and creativity in promoting Winchester internationally and nationally. It’s working.

The tourist information centre is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday. It can be contacted on tel 01962 840 500, e-mail or via the website at