Spending by visitors to Wealden rose by 8% last year, helping to increase the number of people working in local tourism to just over 9,000.
Around £288.5 million of the tourist spending went to local businesses, including hotels restaurants, cafes, shops and attractions in Wealden. The total value of tourism to the District, including indirect spending and second homes, is estimated as being worth £368.7 million.
“This is great news for all those involved in tourism,” said Councillor Roy Galley, Cabinet member responsible for Economic Development. “Overseas visitors are now spending more time here, with a 20% increase recorded in the number of nights they stay. I hope we are able to welcome many more here in future years.
“Tourism is a very important part of the Wealden economy. I am sure the stunning quality of our local environment is one of the main reasons visitors come.”
The overall number of nights spent by visitors in Wealden rose by 8% to 2.14 million bed nights. While the number of nights spent by overseas visitors increased, the number of nights spent by domestic visitors fell slightly, from 1.14 million to 1.12 million.
There were some 5.4 million day trips made by tourists to Wealden in 2018. This was down by 3% on the previous year. But the amount spent on day trips rose by 4%. Day visitors account for 65% of the overall tourist spend.
According to the Wealden Economic Impact survey, nearly 19% of the jobs in Wealden are supported through tourism. This is an increase of 1.4% on 2017. Many of the jobs in tourism are part-time, and the number employed has increased by 7.6% over the past year. The number of full-time equivalent jobs employed in tourism in Wealden is 6,410.