Sheffield is today being hailed as the ‘outdoor capital’ of the UK after research showed recreation gives the city a £53 million boost each year.
Residents also spend more than three times the national average on outdoor equipment, and Sheffield has 200 firms selling it - adding up to £93m in estimated consumer spend.
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The study from the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, commissioned by Sheffield Council, found the city’s passion for outdoor pastimes also generates major health benefits.
It backs up the anecdotal evidence that Sheffield’s opportunities for leisure, and proximity to the Peak District, are a key reason people live and visit the region.
The £53m is money generated by the outdoor economy once running costs, such as staff wages, have been taken into account.
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Coun Leigh Bramall, council cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “As a Sheffielder, I know the city and region is home to some of the most spectacular hills, valleys and rivers in the country, playing host to tremendous opportunities for outdoor pursuits.
“But to have this excellence confirmed by an independent study is fantastic, and proves now is the time to start building upon our reputation internationally.
“It is crucial we capitalise on this research and work across all sectors to position Sheffield as the UK’s outdoor capital, which will bring – and is already – huge financial benefits.”
Sheffield will now host two of Europe’s biggest outdoor events in 2015 - the European Outdoor Summit and the International Adventure Conference.
The council will also now develop an outdoor economy strategy.
Dr Larissa Davies, reader in sport management at Hallam’s research centre, said: “This report highlights the potential of the outdoor economy for generating economic growth and jobs, with household spending on outdoor equipment more than three times the UK average.”