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Massive tourism and leisure boom in Manchester

31 July 2002

Manchester city centre’s leisure industry is enjoying a 27 per cent increase in trade thanks to the thousands of extra visitors.

Town Hall

On Monday, business at the city’s bars and restaurants was as high as a typical Saturday night with triple takings, and shops along Market Street, Deansgate and in the Arndale Centre were also reporting weekend-level sales on Monday and Tuesday.

After watching the Opening Ceremony, Prime Minister Tony Blair referred to Manchester as “one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities in Europe” - and the Games is reinforcing this.

Thousands of people - both Mancunians and tourists - are flocking to both the Games venues and the city centre to soak up the unique party atmosphere.

Tourist information centres have recorded twice as many calls per day compared to before the Games, Manchester Art Gallery is attracting an extra 500 visitors per day with their busiest week since the Golden Jubilee, and the Manchester United Museum and Tour is enjoying a 15 per cent increase in visitors.

Gordon McKinnon, City Centre Management chief executive, said: “Manchester city centre has never looked better. It’s alive, vibrant and awash with colour and decorated with an extravaganza of flowers, banners and bunting adorning every piece of street furniture available.

“The atmosphere in Manchester city centre is really quite electric. The city’s squares have never been so well used and people generally are getting into the spirit of the Games.”

Andrew Stokes, managing director of Marketing Manchester, said: “Manchester is undergoing a period of intense redevelopment, ensuring that when the eyes of the world focus upon it for the Commonwealth Games, they will see the exciting, cosmopolitan destination that it has become. Manchester has embraced a wealth of opportunities provided by the Games to produce a lasting legacy.”

Recent figures produced by British Tourist Authority indicate that Manchester is already the third most popular destination in the UK for overseas visitors, yet with the increased exposure that the Games will generate, Manchester is already preparing to welcome an extra 300,000 new visitors per year as a lasting legacy.

Sportsworld, the company which has organised accommodation for many visitors to the Games, have sold 55,000 bed-nights during the 10 days of competition.

Business and financial advisers Grant Thornton has found that 82 per cent of north west businesses believe the Games is a good use of public money.

And by this weekend, Manchester Airport are expecting to have dealt with 11,000 passengers specifically travelling to the Games.

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