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Our Tourism

As one the UK’s fastest growing cities, Leeds thrives on an ambition to always be a leading centre for economic growth and success.

As a consequence, our expanding retail offering ranks among the top cities in the country and an enviable food, drink and night life scene has seen our tourism sector grow exponentially, with millions flocking to experience a buzzing and cosmopolitan city centre.

The city welcomed just over 29 million tourism visits in 2017, with leisure tourism generating a massive £1.75 billion and in turn supporting more than 20,000 jobs. Business tourism in the city has also been valued at £577m and Leeds has been named among the most popular conference destination in the UK. Those impressive numbers have been bolstered by a significant increase in office accommodation and double digit growth in the city’s food and beverage sector.

International recognition has followed, with tourist guide Lonely Planet naming Leeds one of its top ten European tourist destinations for 2017 and the Victoria Gate retail and leisure complex, complete with a flagship John Lewis store, scooping the title of world’s best shopping centre at the MIPIM Awards 2017. This year has also seen Leeds retain its prestigious Purple Flag status for a third successive year, a benchmark for excellence in managing its bustling evening and night time economy.

Underpinning that success is a long term vision to make Leeds the best city centre in the UK by 2030 through achieving seven clear objectives:

  • A welcoming city centre with strong arrival gateways which are clean and uncluttered.
  • A city centre that builds a national and international reputation for culture.
  • Having a quality environment, which has a positive effect on people’s health and wellbeing
  • Being well connected, with city centre that aids inclusive growth and promotes equality and connects communities.
  • A city centre that’s legible, where it’s easy to find your way around with the use of smart technology.
  • Ensuring a compassionate city centre, that provides good quality residential opportunities for all.
  • A business friendly city centre recognised as a thriving place to do business, attracting new companies and nurture existing ones.
credit Hannah Webster, First Direct arena
Trinity Kitchen
Victoria Quarter
Headrow House LIF16 - Image by Tom Joy
Jousting at Royal Armouries
Briggate, Leeds