Thanet’s visitor economy grew 19% in 2015, making it the biggest district tourism success story in the county of Kent and arguably the whole of the UK.
The district bucked the national trend with trips to its popular seaside destinations of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate rising by 16%, despite visitors to England registering a 5% drop.
The independent research commissioned by Visit Kent showed that day trips, holidays and visitor spend in Thanet rose considerably last year, with the district welcoming nearly 4 million visitors.
The total value of Thanet’s visitor economy reached £293 million, an increase of over 19% compared to 2013. A tremendous 3.9 million trips were made to the area in 2015, an increase of 16% compared to 2013.
Overnight trips also increased by 24%, while direct expenditure for Thanet was up 20%, which is 10 times that for the rest of England. Overseas visitors were also undoubtedly attracted to Thanet’s award-winning beaches and cultural hotspots, with the number of nights spent by visitors from outside the UK rising by a huge 59%.
Encouragingly for local people living and working in Thanet, the research also identified a rise (23.3%) in the total number of jobs supported by tourism to 7,312.
Thanet District Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Enterprise Services, Cllr Hunter Stummer-Schmertzing, said: ‘These results are simply fantastic and we are delighted that Thanet is firmly on the map as the go-to destination in Kent and indeed the UK. It is impossible to not have noticed the significant growth we have experienced in the district over the past few years and I am extremely proud of how far we have come. Combined with the great news for the economy that so many new jobs are being created, I am confident that there will be more developments on the horizon which will continue to attract visitors to Thanet as the special destination it is.’
Chief Executive of Visit Kent Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE said: ‘Kent’s reputation as a great short break destination continues to thrive, and we are proud to remain one of the UK’s most popular destinations. Thanet is undoubtedly one of 2015’s biggest success stories, and we have been thrilled to see the district grow so significantly.’
The research uses the industry-respected Cambridge Economic Impact Model to measure the volume and value of tourism, and the impact of visits and visitor expenditure on the local economy. Studies were carried out across each of Kent’s districts to build an accurate picture of tourism performance in the county