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Chesterfield reveals ambition to increase visitor economy by £32 million

Chesterfield reveals ambition to increase visitor economy by £32 million

Ahead of English Tourism Week 2023 (17 – 23 March), Chesterfield has announced its bold ambition to increase the value of its visitor economy by 20% by 2030.

A 20% increase in tourism will bring an additional £32 million into the economy annually helping create jobs for local people and opportunities for existing and new businesses.

The town will build on its heritage, retail and leisure offering as well as its proximity to the Peak District National Park, to increase the number of overnight stays in the town.

As part of its drive to attract people to visit and stay in the town, the town’s inward investment marketing campaign Destination Chesterfield has appealed to businesses and residents to ‘talk up the town’ within their networks and help attract visitors.

Peter Swallow, Chair of Destination Chesterfield said:

“Chesterfield has an excellent offer for visitors, as well as the town’s close proximity to one of the most visited National Parks in the world. There is an opportunity for us to attract more people to visit and stay overnight in Chesterfield using the town as a base rather than just passing through on their way to the Peak District.”

The Peak District currently welcomes more than 13 million visitors annually with 83% of these arriving by car. Attracting some of these visitors to stay in Chesterfield and using its bus and rail links to visit surrounding areas, including major attractions like Chatsworth House, will not only benefit the borough’s economy but also support the Park Authority’s Sustainable Transport Action Plan.

Additionally, there are cycle paths into the Peak District, the border of which is just five miles from the town centre.

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire praised Chesterfield’s ambitions, saying:

“Tourism already plays a vital role in making the area such a brilliant place to live, work and visit, and we strongly support Chesterfield’s ambition to grow the value of its visitor economy even further.

“The tourism sector generates billions of pounds for the local economy each year, supporting thousands of local jobs and displaying huge potential for future growth, particularly in areas such as sustainable and active travel, which Chesterfield can really capitalise on.

“Growing and developing the town’s tourism offer will not only benefit local businesses, it will also have a positive and lasting effect on local residents and communities. We look forward to working with partners in Chesterfield to support them in achieving this goal and ensuring the visitor economy’s long-term success.”

Mark Thurman, Managing Director of Casa Hotels which owns and operates two four-star hotels in the borough, urged people to ‘celebrate what we’ve already got,’ saying:

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We have wonderful accommodation, great restaurants and fantastic transport links to bring people to Chesterfield to then go and explore the surrounding area. We don’t need to do anything other than celebrate what we’ve already got.”

The town’s proximity to the Peak District has already attracted major investment to the borough including the £300 million PEAK, an all-year-round round leisure education, wellness and entertainment destination. PEAK’s masterplan has been developed around a transport and mobility system connected to the National Park. Phase one of the development, Gateway at PEAK, which is being developed by Milligan is expected to be completed in 2025.

The town is already home to the award-winning Casa Hotel and further hotel accommodation is planned within the £320 million Chesterfield Waterside scheme located close to the close to town’s mainline train station. The developer, Bolsterstone Group Plc, is in talks with major hotel brands to operate the proposed120-bed hotel within Phase 1 of the scheme. The new hotel will be a further addition to the popular 92-bed Premier Inn Hotel which was opened within the Elder Way development in the town centre in 2019.

Increasing the visitor economy of the town is one of the key targets in the 2023-27 Chesterfield Growth Strategy which was launched by Chesterfield Borough Council on 23 February. In addition to growing the visitor economy, key headline targets, include:

  • Increasing the number of employee jobs in the borough by 4% (2,000 jobs)
  • Increasing the number of businesses by 12% (400 businesses)
  • Increasing the number of higher value businesses by 15% (100 businesses)
  • Increasing the share of Chesterfield residents in knowledge-based occupations by 15% (baseline Census 21 - 18,000)
  • Increasing the value of the visitor economy by 20% (baseline £163m)

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said:

“We are already a fantastic visitor destination but growing our visitor economy strengthens growth across the borough, it leads to more people supporting our local businesses and town centre. This will in turn create new jobs and opportunities for our residents. To do this we need to work closely with our partners to promote our town, we have excellent transport connections, fantastic accommodation choices and our proximity to the Peak District puts us in a very strong position to bring more people to our town.”

Peter added: “The lasting and far reaching change we are striving for in Chesterfield cannot be done by one organisation alone; it must be a collaborative effort. By doing this, there is a real opportunity to build a thriving visitor economy in the town.”

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