New figures reveal Harrogate's hard-hit tourism sector on right path to recovery

Newly released figures show the visitor economy of the Harrogate district is on the right path to recovery, painting a sunny picture for the local tourism industry as the summer holiday and staycation season gets underway.

It follows the release of new STEAM data, which measures the economic impact of visits to the district, and STR data, which focuses on hotel performance.

In 2019, visitor numbers to the Harrogate district were recorded at 6.47million, generating an impact of £606million for the local economy.

Understandably, the pandemic led to a drop in visitor numbers in 2020 to 2.81million, valued at £279million -a percentage drop of 54 per cent.

New figures revealed by Destination Harrogate are a welcome boost for the town's tourism industry

However, new data released this month shows that despite continuing challenges faced by the pandemic in 2021, the Harrogate district demonstrated a strong recovery by attracting more than four million visitors to the region, with an economic impact of £457million.

The data also shows visitors were staying longer and spending more money with local businesses in 2021 than they did prior to the pandemic.

Data from 2019 shows that on average an overnight visitor stayed 3.3 days and generated £316 for the local economy and in 2021, this rose to 3.5 days and £344.

The 2022 peak season is also off to a healthy start, with figures indicating that in March, April and May, hotels were largely fuller and seeing a greater level of revenue per available room than they were in 2019.

Strong performance in the district’s hotels, the majority of which are in Harrogate, generally indicates strong performance in tourism businesses of all types across the district.

Gemma Rio, Head of Destination Harrogate, said: “These figures paint a positive picture for the recovery of the visitor economy in the Harrogate district and for the local economy as a whole.

“Our Destination Management Plan targets a full recovery of the visitor economy by 2023 and an increase in its value to £836.7 million by 2030.

“With some exciting events and marketing campaigns planned, together with a continued appetite for collaboration across the district, I’m confident that we will continue to see these figures move in the right direction for the rest of 2022 and beyond.”

Councillor Stanley Lumley, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, added: “This is a really positive start to Harrogate’s visitor economy, ahead of the summer season.

“We’re enormously fortunate to have a district that is full of wonderful visitor attractions, but we need to ensure that people all over the country are aware of them to ensure Harrogate is at the top of the list for their next holiday destination.

“The commitment from Destination Harrogate to promote the district, encourage inward investment and attract high-profile events, helps support this ambition and leads to the positive figures announced today.”

Dan Siddle, General Manager of Harrogate’s Crown Hotel and Chair of the Harrogate Hotel & Tourism Association, said: “After such a tough period for the hospitality industry, it is wonderful to be enjoying some positivity with increasing occupancy levels across the hotels in Harrogate, and we welcome the work of Destination Harrogate to support this.

"Whilst not yet out of the woods, with challenges still in recruitment and staffing, we look forward to a busy summer season and welcoming visitors new and old to our hotels.”