THE value of tourism in Bristol has topped the £750m mark for the first time ever, Destination UK can reveal.
Figures released by Destination Bristol - based on a survey conducted by South West Tourism - showed that visitors to the region in 2005 spent nearly £9b with Bristol emerging as one of the tourism hotspots.
John Hallett, managing director of Destination Bristol, said: "This is a real milestone for the city because just 15 years ago, a report from the University of the West of England suggested that our tourism economy was worth less than £150m.
"This spectacular growth reflects the huge investment that has been made by both Bristol City Council and the private sector in the city over this period time and we are certain that we can continue to build on this success.
"One of the most encouraging features of the survey is that spending by overseas visitors who were staying in the city now exceeds the spending by UK overnight visitors, reflecting Bristol's growing profile as an international travel destination, and the inevitable impact that Bristol Airport's growing route network is having.
'The study has clearly shown just how successful our tourism industry has become. While there are inevitably going to be some periods when we do better then others, and progress is not always smooth, the long term trends are extremely positive."
The study showed that over 15,000 jobs in Bristol now depend upon tourism, a figure that puts the city ahead of the national average for the first time.
Coun Helen Holland, leader of Bristol City Council and joint chair of Destination Bristol welcomed the results of the study.
She said: "Our projections are that the value of tourism will top the billion pound mark by 2010 and we are well on the way to achieving that. Our tourism sector has become much better balanced in recent years with many more people coming to enjoy our music and arts programmes and our festival and events."