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Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive of Visit Kent and Mark Dance, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development

Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive of Visit Kent and Mark Dance, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development

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Kent welcomes record number of tourists

Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive of Visit Kent and Mark Dance, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development

Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive of Visit Kent and Mark Dance, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development

In 2015, Kent welcomed a record number of visitors, with more than 60 million visiting the county, according to figures from Visit Kent.

As a result, the visitor economy has exceeded £3.6 billion for the first time ever and the number of jobs in tourism has risen 5.9% to 71,920. Since 2002 the value of tourism in Kent has risen by a massive 49%.

Outside London, Kent compares well, remaining the third most visited destination in the UK. Top attractions, according to TripAdvisor include Dover Castle, followed by The Hawking Centre and Canterbury Cathedral.

Chief executive of Visit Kent Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE said: “Kent’s reputation as a great short break destination continues to grow, and we are proud to remain one of the UK’s most popular destinations.

“2015 was undoubtedly a challenging year for the industry, with poor weather and the impact of Operation Stack during the summer.

"But these new figures show a rise in visitor numbers, jobs, and in the value of our industry, indicating that a lot of hard work has paid off.

“We put this picture of consistent growth down to two things – billions of investment by the public and private sector in hotels, attractions, footpaths, ferries and more, to ensure that Kent’s visitor offer is world class.

“Secondly, an unceasing commitment of both the public and private sector to work together on a single vision and strategy for tourism, led by Visit Kent."

Thanet is top of the list for highest increases in visitor numbers and spend. In 2015, the district saw 16.8% more day trips to the area and £293 million was spent in the area as a result of tourism - an increase of 19.4% on 2013.

Canterbury received the highest number of visits in the county - 7.2million - and overseas trips shot up 6%.

The figures also include a 6% increase in attraction spend in Ashford, a rise in the overall value of tourism in Sevenoaks, while Tonbridge and Malling saw a large increase in the number of staying visitors, while Dover, Shepway and Tunbridge Wells saw an increase in overnight international visitors.

Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development Mark Dance said: “I’m very happy to see that the visitor economy is flourishing in Kent and these figures show that our investment in supporting businesses across the sector over the last decade has worked.

“The partnerships across the visitor economy are going from strength to strength and Kent remains the third most popular destination in the UK outside of London.

“We certainly won’t be sitting on our laurels when it comes to increasing growth but we have a great deal to be proud of as a county.”

Search and find the perfect commercial property in Kent for your business. Locate in Kent gives advice and relocation support to international and UK companies looking to move or expand. Call +44 (0)1732 520700 or email enquiries@locateinkent.com


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Locate in Kent would like to thank - Canterbury Christ Church University, Discovery Park, Frogmore, Kent County Council, Liberty Property Trust UK, London Array, Medway Council, Thanet Earth, University of Kent and Visit Kent - for the use of their images on this website.

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