A booming year for visitors in Sunderland

Following another year of first-class events and activities in Sunderland, new research reveals that visitor numbers, visitor spend and the number of people employed by tourism in the city are again all on the increase.

The latest statistics received by the City Council through the STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Model) reveals that, for 2018:

  • 9.18 million people visited Sunderland. This was up by 4.7% on 2017.
  • Visitor expenditure in Sunderland now stands at £474.83 million, up by 6.5% on 2017.
  • 5,711 jobs are supported by tourism in Sunderland, an increase of 7.6% on 2017.

The visitor figures are the highest since the council started using the STEAM system in 2009.

STEAM 2018 figures include:

  • Attraction visitor figures and event attendance figures
  • Away fans attending SAFC Home matches (Not home fans)
  • Retail spend is included in the figures
  • Hotel occupancy and bed stock figures count towards the overnight visitors

“I am delighted to see the continued growth in tourism figures for Sunderland. It is also encouraging that as the number of people visiting our city increases, the economic impact of their visits also continues to rise. This all helps to confirm that tourism is a consistently growing sector and a crucial part of our economy.”

“These figures demonstrate how our wide variety of visitor attractions, including our fantastic seafront and award-winning parks, historic buildings, museums, theatres and world class events can bring positive cultural and economic change to our region.”

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller

Large scale events that took place in 2018 in Sunderland included:

  • Tall Ships Races 2018
  • Sunderland International Airshow 30th anniversary
  • Sunderland Illuminations
  • Wicked and Miss Saigon at the Empire Theatre
  • BP Portrait Awards at Sunderland Museum
  • Christmas lights switch on and ice-rink

“We were so proud to be the start port of The Tall Ships Races 2018, a magnificent event for the city which will live long in the memories of all those who visited. The visitor numbers were fantastic, and they are reflected in these results.”

“We continue to develop our events programme every year and there are a number of other exciting developments in the city which will continue to attract new visitors.”

Cllr Miller continued: