Stunning Yorkshire landscape attracts record visitors
The findings, released by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, also reveal that the value of wildlife watching trips increased from £9 million to £24 million a year during that time.
The research, led by Dr Simon Woodward, was carried out at the university’s School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management.
Academics found that most visitor numbers increased at reserves where new visitor facilities had been opened, including Bempton Cliffs (pictured above), Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Centre at Flamborough and at Tophill Low Nature Reserve.
Professor Rhodri Thomas, Dean of the School of Events, Tourism, and Hospitality Management, said: "This study helps confirm that, if managed sensitively, tourism can support environmentally important projects to contribute to the local economy.
“As a school of events, tourism and hospitality management, we feel it’s important to help local stakeholders gather evidence of the impact of their activities. This will help them maximise the benefits and limit potential costs."
The majority of visits were day trips from home and a third of people interviewed were holidaying in the area.
Dr Rob Stoneman, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “East Yorkshire is one of the best corners of the UK to watch wildlife and enjoy the outdoors, as more and more people are discovering.”
The Leeds Beckett findings reflect the national trend of more people making trips to watch wildlife. Growth is expected to continue over the coming years and tourism businesses in East Yorkshire are encouraged to engage with this expanding market.
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This is wonderful news for East Yorkshire and it’s no surprise that this stunning part of the county, with its beautiful unspoilt beaches, picturesque landscape and impressive wildlife, is attracting such a significant increase in tourists.
“The boost received by local businesses in the area, as a result of the growing number of people visiting, is hugely encouraging and great for the morale and continuing success of the region’s tourism service providers.”