When it comes to the visitor economy, picturesque Ribble Valley is top of the world.
Tourism generated over £260m for the Ribble Valley economy last year, an increase of 7.3 per cent on 2017, compared to a Lancashire increase of 3.8 per cent, according to the latest official figures.
The number of visitors to the borough topped four million for the third year running, with around 300,000 more than 2017 – an increase of 7.6 per cent, compared to a Lancashire increase of 1.7 per cent.
And the visitor economy – comprising day and staying visitors – generated 3,454 full-time equivalent jobs, a six per cent increase on 2017.
Many visitors were attracted by the borough’s food and drink, which has been championed by Ribble Valley Borough Council for many years through several successful initiatives, particularly the Clitheroe Food Festival, now in its eighth year and considered one of the best in the UK.
The council also devised the successful partnership, Wedding Heaven, with several venues licensed for marriage ceremonies and civil partnerships to promote the borough as a premier wedding destination.
And the council has been working with a number of businesses to champion ‘Walks with Taste’ combining outstanding countryside hikes with fine food.
Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stephen Atkinson said: “These latest figures are great news for the borough and reflect yet another year of sustainable growth in the local visitor economy.
“Tourism is a key part of our economic strategy and we have worked hard in partnership with the private sector, including the Ribble Valley Tourism Association, to develop key markets, such as food and drink, walking and weddings.
“These figures are extremely encouraging and reflect the significant contribution of the visitor economy to the economic wellbeing of Ribble Valley.”