Spark! street drumming performers illuminated in different colours in front of a giant lit up observation wheel

Latest Figures Show Strong Growth in Cheltenham’s Visitor Economy

A recent report into the value of Cheltenham’s visitor economy has shown significant growth in visitor numbers and spending in our Regency town. Last year, the number of day visitors to Cheltenham grew to 1.9 million – an increase of 7%, whilst the number of nights spent in the town by staying visitors rose to just under 1.1 million – an increase of 6%.

The figures also highlight the importance of the overseas market to the town, with the growth in international visitors growing at a faster rate than those from within the UK, including a 14% increase on the number of nights spent in Cheltenham by overseas visitors.

Beautiful architecture draws visitors from near and far.

In each case, Cheltenham has significantly outperformed the national trend which saw a drop in overnight trips and day visits over the same period. Overall, it means that Cheltenham’s visitor economy is now worth over £162 million to the local economy.

The findings have been revealed from the latest annual study by independent research specialists, The South West Research Company.

David Jackson, Marketing Cheltenham Manager, said: “These latest results are hugely encouraging and provide a welcome reminder of the significant contribution made by the tourism sector to Cheltenham’s wider economy. The fact that these figures buck the national trend is particularly pleasing and is testament to the enduring appeal of Cheltenham’s renowned shopping offer as well as its ever-expanding and world-class festivals and events programme.”

As you will know, earlier this year we launched Cheltenham’s new brand, The Festival Town, helping to reposition the towns image and highlight our outstanding festivals, events and cultural offer to both national and international audiences.

Gold Cup Day at the Cheltenham Festival

Tracey Crews, Director of Planning at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “When Cheltenham Borough Council set up Marketing Cheltenham back in 2017, our ambition was to grow the value of Cheltenham’s visitor economy by 5% each year through to 2022, so it’s great to see that this investment is already starting to pay off. Looking ahead, there are huge opportunities on the horizon for Cheltenham and our outstanding cultural and tourism offer has a vital part to play in realising our place vision, attracting people to not only visit, but also to live, work and study here too.”

Light Up Cheltenham organised by Cheltenham BID and promoted by Marketing Cheltenham. This hugely successful annual event attracts visitors during February which is one of the quieter times of year for Cheltenham.

Since forming in 2017 as a division of Cheltenham Borough Council, we have led the town’s destination marketing strategy under the banner of Visit Cheltenham. We also work closely with Cheltenham BID, helping to deliver some of the town’s major events and to encourage visitors into the town centre.

Kevan Blackadder, Director of Cheltenham BID, added: “There’s never been any doubt that Cheltenham is a wonderful place to visit with so much going on. What we’re getting much better at is in spreading that message. It’s good to see that being reflected in increases in the number of visitors to the town.”