Manchester is England’s most visited city in England outside of London, say new statistics.
The number of people visiting Manchester have soared, with nearly one million people coming to visit the city in 2013.
These latest figures from the Office of National Statistics fly in the face of TripAdvisor, whose latest review placed Manchester outside of the Top 10 UK cities for tourists to visit this year.
In the UK however, Edinburgh still pips Manchester to second place with 1.2million visitors last year.
Coming up just behind Manchester, second city rivals Birmingham showed the largest increase in number of visits in 2013, growing from 713,000 visits in 2012 to 941,000.
Andrew Stokes, Chief Executive at Marketing Manchester, told MM: “We are very pleased that Manchester remains the third most visited city in the UK with 988,000 international visitors choosing to visit us last year.”
Manchester has always been a popular destination with tourists, who enjoy visiting the city for its galleries, restaurants, music scene and incredible football teams.
The latest figures will no doubt have been bolstered by Chinese tourists who have been visiting the city in droves to take advantage of Manchester’s thriving shopping destinations.
Mr Stokes said: “It is encouraging to read that overall growth in visits to UK from overseas has been helped by an increasing number of Chinese visitors – up 9.7%.
“Marketing Manchester was one of the first organisations to sign up to VisitBritain’s China Welcome Charter which aims to make Britain the destination of choice for the rapidly-growing Chinese market.
“With Cathay Pacific having recently announcing that it will begin four-weekly direct flights to Manchester-Hong Kong from December 2014 we anticipate that this will have a welcome impact on inbound tourism into region.”
All areas of the UK saw a rise in visits from overseas residents during 2013 compared to 2012.
This was primarily due to the rise in visits from European residents which increased by 7.1% and 9.5% for England and Scotland respectively.
The top seven most popular cites with overseas tourists remained the same as in 2012: London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow and Oxford.
Mr Stokes said: “The figures represent a healthy 6% increase on 2012 and show that we are continuing to close the gap on Edinburgh.”
Image courtesy of Joe Mott, with thanks.