THE biggest ever guide to Exeter has been published this month, offering tourists an array of places to visit and stay in what is fast becoming one of the region’s top city break destinations.
Latest figures confirm that in total almost £187m was spent by visitors whilst on holiday in the city (2012).
Spend by UK holidaymakers staying overnight in Exeter increased from £66m to £80m and for overseas visitors from £30.2m to £38.7m (between 2011 and 2012). In just four years, spend by overseas visitors in Exeter has almost doubled, from £20.9m in 2009 to £38.7m in 2012.
As the 44-page guide makes clear, the city break destination continues to expand its offering to visitors, from boutique hotels like Magdalen Chapter, Queen’s Court Hotel and Southernhay House, to cool independent eateries and bars like Harry’s Grill Bar, Ruby’s Diner, Bar Rendezvous, Oddfellows and the Fat Pig.
Towns and cities across the South West and beyond are being targeted by the Heart of Devon Tourism Partnership, to make sure people are aware of what Exeter has to offer as a destination.
Some 140,000 copies of the guide are being distributed to outlets across the South West and beyond.
Cllr Rosie Denham, Exeter City Council Lead Councillor for Economy and Culture said: “Tourism is a vital component of the economy of Exeter. The weather at the start of the year was a setback but there is growing optimism out there for 2014 - though of course we face fierce competition from other destinations.
“That’s why it is so important to promote Exeter and make sure people know what we bring to the table, just how easy it is to get here and get about, and how there really is something for all budgets and interests.
"It’s a highly competitive market, but with the Rugby World Cup in Exeter next year, now is the time to show how Exeter provides great value, excellent customer service and a quality experience for all its visitors.”
Close to 5,000 jobs in the city are attributed to tourism spend in the city, with Derek Philips, Heart of Devon Tourism Partnership and Exeter Chamber of Commerce chairman, in no doubt as to its importance to the local economy.
He said: “Exeter is on the up. It’s a vibrant cultural city with so much to offer and set in the most beautiful countryside in the Heart of Devon – the perfect city break destination. Our part of the world is so distinctive, so special, we have to make sure people making choices about where to go and what to do, know just what a great place Exeter is.
“The schedule of renowned festivals, cultural events, attractions for families, fantastic shopping and more cafes and restaurants then ever before, amount to what I believe is a brilliant offering to rival any city of comparable size anywhere in the country.
"All the partnership members are working hard to ensure we provide great value and a quality experience for visitors in 2014.”
Available online at www.visitexeter.com, the guide includes:
• 48 hours in Exeter schedule
• 2014 Year of the Bike details
• Culture, family activities, sport and leisure
• Attractions, tours and trails
• Wildlife and green spaces
• Shopping and eating guide
• Money-saving vouchers
• Accommodation guide
• What’s on calendar 2014 Exeter City Break Fact-file (for 2012)
• 445,000 overnight trips taken, £119.5m spent
• 1,818,000 day trips, £66.9m spent
• UK tourists spent: £30m on accommodation £9.7m on shopping £18.2m on food and drink
• Overseas tourists spent: £12.4m on accommodation £10.9m on shopping £7m on food and drink.
The guide is available from a range of locations across the South West and can be downloaded at www.visitexeter.com