Exeter has seen a significant increase in visitor numbers and spend. Major events such as the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the European Rugby 7’s have raised the profile of the city nationally and internationally, placing it firmly on the map as a cultural and sporting destination.
Data provided by The South West Research Company Ltd for 2015 showed that staying domestic visitors increased by 5% to 423,000 compared to 2014 and spend by 12% to £86,302,000 on the previous year. Overseas visitors increased by 12% to 631,000.
The city has attracted major investment, with a £12million pound redevelopment of Exeter’s Guildhall Shopping & Dining opening in 2016, bringing seven new restaurants to the city, including London restaurant Absurd Bird, with their first opening outside the capital.
The future looks bright with developments including the regeneration of the city’s bus station site to offer an exciting array of new facilities including a cinema, restaurants, cafes and shops, a green public square and a modern, state-of-the-art leisure and fitness complex known as St Sidwell’s Point, the UK’s first Passivhaus leisure centre; and the Boat Shed, a £4million new creative space on Exeter’s Quayside in what was previously the city’s maritime museum, to feature a new theatre, live music hall, cafe/bar, bakery and indoor market.
Cllr Rosie Denham, Lead Councillor for Economy & Culture said “Exeter attracted some major international exposure in 2015 as a result of being a Host City for Rugby World Cup 2015 and the European Rugby 7’s. With such major investment into the city’s leisure sector as we’ve seen in the past 12 months and are expecting to see in the near future, we are well placed to promote the city as a strong cultural destination to rival nearby cities of Plymouth, Bristol and Bath.”