Sunderland tourist increase sees nine million visitors spending almost £500million in city

Sunderland attracted more than nine million visitors last year – contributing a total of £500million to the city’s economy, new figures have shown.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 1:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 5:35 pm
Sunderland Illuminations was one of the big attractions for visitors in 2018

Visitor numbers in 2018 were up 4.7% on 201, with spending up by 6.5%. In total 5,711 jobs are supported by tourism in the city, an increase of 7.6%.

The numbers were bolstered by headline-making events and activities in the city during 2018.

These included the Tall Ships Races, the 30th anniversary Sunderland International Airshow, the illuminations, shows like Wicked and Miss Saigon at the Empire Theatre, the BP Portrait Awards at Sunderland Museum and the Christmas lights switch on and ice-rink.

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The Tall Ships Races gave Sunderland a boost in tourism in 2018.

The statistics were received by Sunderland City Council from number crunchers at STEAM, which measures tourism in the UK. The visitor figures are the highest since the council started using the STEAM system in 2009.

Factors taken into account by the system include attraction visitor figures and event attendance figures, visiting football fans attending SAFC home matches, retail spend and hotel occupancy.

The leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: "I am delighted to see the continued growth in tourism figures for Sunderland.

"It is also encouraging that as the number of people visiting our city increases, the economic impact of their visits also continues to rise.

"This all helps to confirm that tourism is a consistently growing sector and a crucial part of our economy.

"These figures demonstrate how our wide variety of visitor attractions, including our fantastic seafront and award-winning parks, historic buildings, museums, theatres and world class events can bring positive cultural and economic change to our region.

"We were so proud to be the start port of The Tall Ships Races 2018, a magnificent event for the city which will live long in the memories of all those who visited.

"The visitor numbers were fantastic and they are reflected in these results.

"We continue to develop our events programme every year and there are a number of other exciting developments in the city which will continue to attract new visitors."