Sixth year of consecutive growth for Lancashire visitor economy

3 October 2019

Today, Marketing Lancashire, the organisation responsible for the promotion of the county as a place to visit, live, work, study and invest in, revealed the latest independent research on visitors to Lancashire. The annual STEAM* figures show the economic impact of tourism in Lancashire for 2018 and reveal that Lancashire’s visitor economy is now in its sixth year of continuous growth. 

The research shows that in 2018 visitor numbers reached 68.74million (+1.7% up on 2017), with visitors spending £4.41billion (+3.8% up on 2017) in the county. There was also a 1.5% increase in jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector, with employment now totalling 60,782. 

Chief Executive, Rachel McQueen, said “We’re delighted to be able to demonstrate that the county is continuing to thrive as a visitor destination, with six years of healthy and sustainable growth to celebrate.  

“In 2018 we enjoyed an especially hot summer, with visitors choosing Lancashire for short breaks and days out in particular, from Easter right through to the autumn months, increasing the total number of visitor days from 85million in 2017 to 86million in 2018. 

“Lancashire’s food & drink and retail attractions continue to flourish, with both areas exceeding £1billion in direct expenditure by visitors, confirming our belief in Lancashire as the UK’s top gourmet destination.

“We’re confident that many exciting developments and new investments across the county will continue to drive growth, helping to attract high value visitors from further afield as well as boosting our domestic tourism offer.  To that end we are now working with TEAM Tourism Consulting to help us produce a new tourism growth strategy for Lancashire, which will help us to explore and maximise the priority opportunities for the sector.”

 “TEAM has been commissioned to develop an ambitious strategy focused on targeting interventions towards inclusive growth. The work will gather an evidence base that will feed into the development of the Local Industrial Strategy being led by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. It will also stand us in good stead to maximise any opportunities that come forward through the government’s Tourism Sector Deal.”

TEAM Executive Director, Richard Dickinson said  “With tourism now one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy, TEAM Tourism Consulting is looking forward to working with Marketing Lancashire and its industry partners, to build on the County’s undoubted strengths and create a clear and focused road-map that can maximise the potential of tourism in the years ahead.” 

Over the last six years Lancashire has seen visitors increase by 6.4million visitors, spending increase by £1billion and an additional 6,000 jobs created across the tourism and hospitality sector.

Rachel McQueen concludes “Today’s news is testament to the strength of Lancashire’s tourism sector, the professionalism and entrepreneurship of all those who work in our industry. It comes just a few weeks before we celebrate their incredible achievements in the Lancashire Tourism Awards 2019. Six years of continuous growth is certainly something to be very proud of and I’ll be saying as much as I welcome them to our tourism ‘Oscars’ in November.”  

A full summary of the latest visitor economy figures and key findings of the STEAM data for 2018 can be found on

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