Sheffield awarded £500,000 to attract more outdoor sports fans from Europe

Action from the Cliffhanger festival in Sheffield city centre
Action from the Cliffhanger festival in Sheffield city centre
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Sheffield has secured £500,000 to help attract more young thrill-seekers from Europe.

The money will be spent providing more activities for adventure sports enthusiasts and promoting the wealth of outdoor pursuits available on the city's doorstep.

EXTREME Destinations chief executive Alistair Gosling at the Ski Village site, where he hopes to create an extreme sports hub

EXTREME Destinations chief executive Alistair Gosling at the Ski Village site, where he hopes to create an extreme sports hub

Sheffield Council hopes to entice more young tourists from northern Europe, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark Sweden, Norway and Finland to enjoy sports like mountain cycling and climbing while soaking up the city's independent culture.

Its Adrenaline Fuelled City Breaks project was one of numerous initiatives to boost tourism which received a share of the Government's £40 million Discover England Fund, administered by VisitEngland.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, said: "We are seeing real progress in the development of Sheffield's status as a world-class tourism destination with The Outdoor City being part of a strategy to attract new visitors.

"We know that the adventure market is growing, and that there is real scope to increase England’s share of the adventure sports tourism market.

"The opportunity, alongside other developments such as that at Parkwood Springs, is to position Sheffield at the heart of that national offer, and to bring a new Europe-wide audience to the tremendous opportunities the city provides, both in the outdoor and night-time economy."

The new funding was announced just a week after the council revealed a consortium led by EXTREME Destinations as its preferred developer to revive the beleaguered Ski Village site at Parkwood Springs as an extreme sports hub, where it is hoped the dry slopes and mountain bike tracks could reopen as early as 2019.

EXTREME, which is a major player in the world of extreme sports, said the city's buzzing nightlife and creative vibe played a big part in attracting it to Sheffield.

The winning bid for the £500,000 came from Marketing Sheffield, which sits within the council's economic arm Creative Sheffield responsible for selling the idea of the Outdoor City.

The council plans to promote its outdoor offering to a new audience of enthusiasts by highlighting the opportunity to follow in the footsteps, footholds and tyre tracks of a host of world class competitors to have honed their skills in the region.

By doing so, it believes it can grab a bigger slice of the growing city breaks market.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said: "Cities are a huge part of the tourism market, and a major draw for international visitors to England. The number of European citizens taking city breaks has increased by 35 per cent since 2013 with cities particularly popular with our target market of visitors aged under 35.

"This is a real vote of confidence in Sheffield and our status as the Outdoor City. It is another boost for what is already a unique and high-quality offer, particularly in terms of outdoor activity, but it is also a vote of confidence in the appeal of the city’s culture, nightlife and accommodation."

VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe said: "The calibre of submissions reflects the innovation in product development thriving across the country's tourism landscape. The successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step-change in the industry and spreading economic benefits of tourism across England.

"Marketing Sheffield’s winning project showcases the outstanding offer of outdoor, adrenaline-fuelled activities and the chance to explore an exciting and vibrant city, discovering its culture, heritage and nightlife."