THE Bradford BID could play a major role in boosting the city’s economy by encouraging more visitors and tourists, say business leaders.
According to the most recent available figures, overnight and day visitors spent an estimated £472 million in the district in 2016, up 10 per cent on the previous year.
Ian Ward, chairman of the group hoping their plans for a Business Improvement District (BID) will get the go-ahead in the current postal ballot, which closes on October 11, said: “I think when you live in any area you don’t always appreciate what you have on your doorstep but there are many reasons why people from other places want to visit Bradford.
“With so much money being brought into the local economy by visitors, it makes absolute sense that one of the key aims of the BID should be to encourage more people to come here – and that’s why promoting the city is one of the four core pillars of our business plan.”
Recent trends have shown an overall increase in tourism year on year, with an estimated 718,000 trips where visitors have stayed overnight in 2016. Of those, more than 625,000 were made by visitors from around the UK with 93,000 from overseas.
A Visit Bradford spokesman said: “We estimate that tourism-related expenditure supports 10,000 full-time jobs in Bradford and if you add part-time and seasonal jobs the figure rose to 13,624 in 2016, four per cent up on the previous year.
“People come to Bradford for all sorts of reasons. Of course, the city is a perfect hub for visiting Bronte Country, Ilkley Moor and the Dales but the centre of Bradford has a great deal to offer as well.
“The National Science and Media Museum, for instance, welcomed 505,000 people in the 12 months up to March 31, 2018 – an increase of more than 25 per cent on the previous year.
“Places like Cartwright Hall with its Hockney Gallery, the Alhambra theatre and St George’s Hall bring in tens of thousands of visitors and we know many people are coming from out of the district to experience City Park and the Mirror Pool and all the great events that are now happening there.”
Mr Ward said the BID plans to spend around £445,000, from the £2.5 million to be raised by the business levy, on marketing and promoting the city centre over the next five years which would have a huge impact on helping to generate more visitors.
“More visitors means more money spent in local shops, bars, restaurants and coffee shops, more tickets bought for events and attractions, more rooms booked in hotels and all that leads to more jobs and more job security,” he said.
“We really do need all those who can vote in the ballot to support the BID and to get their votes in now because the closing date is fast approaching. It just makes so much sense for Bradford, I can’t think why anyone would vote against it!”
Visit Bradford staff members Lisa Brankin and Ian Rose, pictured at the Visitor Information Centre, in Britannia House, Broadway, are urging businesses to Vote Yes