How Hull became a tourist hotspot

Published: Wednesday 27th September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Today is World Tourism Day. We’re celebrating how Hull has transformed itself into a popular destination, attracting visitors from around the world.

Since the UK City of Culture festivities kicked off with a bang on 1 January 2017, hundreds of thousands of people have attended all sorts of exciting events. The large number of performances, talks, festivals and exhibitions happening across the city has clearly had a positive impact on Hull’s tourism, as well as its confidence.

In the first season alone, there were 450 events, attracting 1.4 million visitors. On top of this, hotel occupancy was up 13.8% during these months, compared to the same period in 2016. According to Visit Hull and East Yorkshire, hotels in Hull are now twice as likely to see their occupancy rise over 80% than they were last year. And it’s no wonder, following an incredible 342,000 visits to the Hull City Centre opening event Made in Hull.

Hull Truck Theatre has recently come forward to boast that a whopping 37, 510 people saw a production between January and June this year. That’s an impressive increase of 8,000+ people if you comp the figure with 2016 ticket sales. They have calculated that an average of 40% are new theatre-goers.

Meanwhile, the Weeping Window, the iconic poppy sculpture that swept its way from Hull Maritime Museum into Queen Victoria Square, received over 720,000 visits. It is, in fact, the most popular venue to host the thought-provoking artwork since the tour began in 2015.

“Let’s not forget, this is just a snapshot – there is plenty more to come. We hope people will continue to try things out, not just this year, but beyond 2017,” states CEO of Hull 2017, Martin Green.

The surge in the number of tourists has been reflected in the swell of train ticket sales too. Hull Trains experienced a 17% increase in sales during the first month of the year. This is an amazing figure, considering the industry average was just 4%. The operator has said that customers have enjoyed the extra weekend services that have been running.

This popularity has continued throughout the year, with an extra 52,000 passengers boarding a Hull Trains carriage between January and May. TransPennine Express also saw a 13% rise in passenger journeys during this period.

Non-statistically, researchers from the University of Hull have found that the City of Culture status has brought a feel-good factor and improved the confidence of the city.

“It’s wonderful to see the difference UK City of Culture has made to Hull and how both residents and visitors alike are responding to the amazing arts and culture,” says Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council. “This year is achieving everything we could have hoped for and more, from increasing pride and participation, to raising the profile of Hull and boosting the economy.”

This great news arrives at the same time that Hull is crowned the most enterprising place in Britain by the government for its economic growth.

Local tour guide, Paul Schofield, has also reaped the benefits from the City of Culture activities: “It has impacted enormously on tourism. Personally, I’ve never had as many people on my guided walks. And nearly all of them are visitors from all parts of the UK and beyond,” he points out. “Hull Museums and the galleries have had over one million visitors this year!”

To see what’s up next for Hull UK City of Culture, please visit the Hull 2017 website.

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Published: Wednesday 27th September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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