Tourism on the up in Bolton 

james martin
The Food and Drink Festival attracts thousands of visitors to Bolton

The value of the tourism industry in Bolton has continued to rise from £371 million in 2012 to £394 million in 2013.

Visitor numbers rose by an extra 200,000 with 6.4 million visitors in 2013 compared to 6.2 million in 2012.

And the growing tourism market has also meant a job boost for the town. The number of jobs supported by the sector has increased by 229 to 5,180 - a 4.6 per cent rise.

The figures are compiled as part of an annual research report by Marketing Manchester in collaboration with the 10 Greater Manchester authorities.

They reveal that the town’s most visited destination is Bolton Museum and Aquarium in Le Mans Crescent with 378,202 visitors; also the tenth most visited free attraction in the north west.

The museum has benefited from Sunday and Bank Holiday opening since 2012 and its exhibitions draw in crowds from all over the country. Smithills Hall, Hall I’th Wood, and Bolton Market on Ashburner Street also continue to attract visitors on day trips.

Increasing numbers of visitors have also been attracted by events such as the Bolton Food and Drink Festival - visitor numbers to the festival increased from 102,000 in 2012 to 130,000 in 2013.

Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Regeneration, Cllr Akhtar Zaman, said: “This is great news. Bolton is actively promoting itself as a tourism destination and these figures show that despite the economic climate visitors are still coming.

“The growing profile of events such as the Food and Drink Festival, the continued success of the Ironman UK Triathlon, and Ironkids has helped to attract many new people to Bolton. Other major draws for visitors are our museums.

“Visitors have also been attracted by Bolton’s range of hotel and guesthouse accommodation and location. The new cinema and restaurants due to open at the Market Place, the continued success of events, and the new Interchange will be key to attracting more people to the town in future years.”

Cabinet Member for Culture, Cllr John Byrne, added: “The popularity of our museums continues to grow and over the years we have adapted to meet the changing needs of our visitors. Since introducing Sunday and Bank Holiday opening in 2012, we have seen our visitor numbers increase.

“In addition, we organise family activities and events throughout the year, and with the extra opening days we can tailor our activities to complement major events like Ironman UK and the Food and Drink Festival. We also have an interesting and varied exhibition calendar, which attracts visitors from far and wide.”

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