Sheffield tourism: Women's Euros and Rugby World Cup helped swell industry to well over £1 billion

High profile events and the end of coronavirus restrictions pushed Sheffield's tourist industry to well over £1billion
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Tramlines, UEFA's Women's Euros and the Rugby League World Cup has swelled Sheffield's tourism industry to well over £1 billion, it has been revealed.

They were among the high profile events that took place in the city during 2022, as over 15 million people came to the city, bringing an estimated £1.35billion boost to its economy.

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Experts say tourists spent money on accommodation, food and drink, culture, shopping, and travel, which helps bring money into the city and create jobs. The visitor economy supports 13,285 full time equivalent jobs in Sheffield, according data which has been revealed in the annual tourism economic impact research undertaken for Sheffield for the calendar year 2022, the first not to have any restriction since Covid.

Switzerland fans at Devonshire Green, Sheffield, during the UEFA Women's Euro 22. The tournament helped Sheffield's tourist industry grow above £1.3 billion as it recovers post-Covid. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldSwitzerland fans at Devonshire Green, Sheffield, during the UEFA Women's Euro 22. The tournament helped Sheffield's tourist industry grow above £1.3 billion as it recovers post-Covid. Picture: David Kessen, National World
Switzerland fans at Devonshire Green, Sheffield, during the UEFA Women's Euro 22. The tournament helped Sheffield's tourist industry grow above £1.3 billion as it recovers post-Covid. Picture: David Kessen, National World

Sheffield Council says cultural events, sporting fixtures and Sheffield’s 'growing reputation as a city break destination' helped the city attract tourists in 2022. The Women’s Euros brought football and footfall to Sheffield. City centre footfall increased by more than 10,000 (22 per cent) and all of the city’s hotel rooms were fully booked during match days. The Rugby League World Cup brought thousands more sports fans to Sheffield.

Events run by local businesses also helped make Sheffield more attractive to tourists, according to officials at Sheffield Council, who say markets like Peddler street food market and Pollen flower markets continued to thrive and annual events like World Snooker, Tramlines and Art in the Gardens brought sports, music and arts fans to the city.

Meanwhile, Sheffield was named the ‘second best city to visit’ by TimeOut and also sells itself as The Outdoor City to attract city break visitors who enjoy adventures from climbing to stand up paddleboarding to exploring our open spaces on foot, with the Peak District on the doorstep.

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The value of Sheffield’s visitor economy is now only 1.2 per cent below its pre-pandemic levels. Officials say figures show that Sheffield’s visitor economy recovery is in line with other major cities across the UK.

Coun Martin Smith, Chair of the Economic Development and Skills Committee, said: “We all know how brilliant Sheffield is because we’re residents of the city. It is fantastic to see that tourists are keen to visit and experience all the Sheffield has to offer.

“The pandemic was an incredibly challenging time for our visitor economy and it is good to see that recovery is on track and that visitors are returning to Sheffield. A strong tourist offer is good for our city and its residents, it creates jobs and boosts our economy.

“In autumn, Sheffield’s proposed Destination Management Plan - a long term plan for tourism in the region - will be considered by the Economic Development and Skills Committee. The plan follows July’s announcement of the South Yorkshire Local Visitor Economy Partnership by Visit England and will bring together unique attractions and visitor experiences from across the region to attract more visitors to South Yorkshire.

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“From world-class sporting events to local artisan markets, adventures on the edge of our city in the Peak District, visits to our museums galleries and theatres, and of course, shopping trips. I am proud that Sheffield has attracted so many visitors, providing a welcome boost to the city’s economy.”