Doncaster leaders welcome new tourism figures

Doncaster Chamber chief executive officer Dan Fell
Doncaster Chamber chief executive officer Dan Fell

It's come out on top over some quality destinations, and Doncaster's tourism and civic leaders are welcoming news that the town has been named as a hot-spot in the industry.

Doncaster attracts more day visitors than William Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon birthplace, the dreaming spires of Oxford and its Yorkshire counterpart Harrogate, known for its pretty town centre and world famous Bettys tea rooms.

Over a three-year period, between 2013 and 2015, 646 million people visited Doncaster for a day, or part of, and over this same period almost 200,000 of them visited the St Leger racing festival that takes place each September in the town.

Doncaster Chamber chief executive officer, Dan Fell, was thrilled with the news, but he said the borough couldn't afford to rest on its laurels.

“The positive visitor figures for Doncaster are extremely welcome," he said.

"In recent years key assets such as Doncaster Racecourse, CAST, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and many more have gone from strength to strength. These new figures reflect that journey and the hard work of thousands of people."

More needed to be done to attract visitors to the area for longer and capitalise on the figures.

“As a borough, we need to keep building on this momentum to attract more visitors and also to encourage more overnight stays in the borough," Mr Fell said.

"Key priorities going forward need to include the delivery of transformational projects for our town centres, an increased focus on supporting our arts and cultural sector and building on the success of major events such as the Tour de Yorkshire."

They highlighted the importance of the tourism pound in Doncaster's success.

“Finally, these figures demonstrate just what an important contribution our leisure sector makes to our economy," Mr Fell said.

"It is therefore imperative that, as Doncaster’s economy continues to regenerate and grow, the region’s leaders properly recognise and celebrate the contribution that our tourism and cultural industries make to Sheffield City Region and that we do not focus on sectors such as advanced manufacturing to the exclusion of everything else.”

Bill Mordue, the cabinet member for business, skills and economic development, said the town deserved the good figures.

“I’m not surprised that Doncaster is one of Britain’s top tourist hotspots as we have world class assets that cities across the country would aspire to have," he said.

"Major expansions are underway to build on our visitor numbers which include the Hilton Garden Inn hotel development at the Racecourse, and plans have been submitted for a £50m expansion of the Yorkshire Wildlife Park."

"There are also plans for the European Tour world class golf course at Rossington Hall. Proposals are also moving forward for a major redevelopment of Bawtry Golf Course creating a new style of golf and hotel and conference facilities."