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Ambition to boost Sheffield visitor economy

Sheffield sky line

Sheffield City Council has adopted a new strategy to help make the city a leading destination for visitors across Europe, boosting the local economy and opportunities for Sheffield residents and businesses.

Tourism in the city already makes a significant contribution to the wider local economy. In 2022, visitor spending brought in an estimated £1.35 billion for the city and supported 13,285 full-time jobs in Sheffield.

The new Destination Management Plan (DMP), adopted by the Council’s Economic Development and Skills Committee on Wednesday 8 October 2023, aims to provide a framework to bring in more visitors to the city for the benefit of local people and businesses.

Councillor Martin Smith, Chair of the Economic Development and Skills Committee, said:

“It’s great to see the Sheffield adopting a strategic plan to grow tourism and support the visitor economy.

"It will help fill more hotel rooms, sell more cups of coffee, fill more restaurants and see more money spent with local businesses. 

“We have an ambitious plan and look forward to working with partners across Sheffield to deliver it.”

To achieve these ambitions, the DMP – led by Marketing Sheffield – will focus on setting out a strategy to make Sheffield a world-class destination for visitors.

The strategy has five key objectives, including developing Sheffield’s city breaks offer, growing the conferences market and diversifying and strengthening the city-wide events programme.

Events will play a key role in the strategy, with the Council also supporting the development of a new Major Events Plan that will inform bidding for and hosting events going forward. 

With the UK events sector being worth an estimated £42.3 billion in 2022, the Council wants to ensure Sheffield is well positioned to take advantage of the economic benefits that events bring.

They also hope to boost the number of major conferences held in the city, with these being associated with an estimated spend of £141.8m at local venues in 2019.

The Committee also heard from Marketing Sheffield about some of their recent campaigns to grow the visitor economy, including ‘Your University City’, a collaboration with both universities to attract 16–19-year-olds to choose Sheffield as their university destination.

They also heard about the ‘City Breaks’ campaign, which targeted potential visitors from London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham and promoted Sheffield’s music, culture, outdoors and opportunities for extended business trips. Since the campaigns have been running, website visits have increased from an average 2,000 per day to 8,000 per day – around 2.9 million visitors per year.