More tourists wooed to city
Newly-released figures show the value of Leicestershire's tourism economy was £1.4 billion in 2011 – an increase from £1.32 billion the previous year.
The independent study also revealed visitor numbers were up – increasing from 30.55 million in 2010 to 30.71 million in 2011.
The number of people staying overnight in hotels and bed and breakfasts had increased by 1,000 visitors to 9,000.
Tourism bosses said the rise was due to better promotion of the county as a destination, and the high and varied quality of the accommodation and services such as restaurants, cafes and bars.
Martin Peters, chief executive of Leicester Shire Promotions, which released the figures and promotes tourism in the county, said: "This growth has been achieved in spite of such challenging economic circumstances so it's fantastic to see that tourism is continuing to significantly contribute to the local economy.
"These new figures and the rise over the past five years show the value of tourism to Leicestershire."
The figures in the report were based on research by Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor and counted day and overnight visitors.
Its indicators counted as tourists such groups as business visitors and football fans coming to the city for away games.
The Leicestershire figures referred to the city and county combined.
Mr Peters said Leicester Shire Promotions had been promoting short breaks in the county through its Stay Play Explore Campaign.
In the city the value of the tourism economy was £474 million in 2011 – an increase from £472.45 million – and visitor numbers stood at 9.824 million, compared with 2010's figure of 9.796 million.
The report said the value of accommodation in the city and county had increased by about 20 per cent between 2007 and 2011.
Revenue generated by the serviced accommodation sector increased to £247 million in 2011, from £223 million in the previous year.
Martin Traynor, chief executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: "Leisure and tourism is Leicestershire's second-fastest growing industry and one that, in times of economic difficulty, can play a critical role in helping us to reinvigorate our local economy.
"As a former hotelier, I am particularly pleased to see the work being undertaken to promote our destination is bearing fruit in both terms of additional visitors to the city and county along with an increase in the average spend."