A record total of more than four million people visited Lincoln last year, with the visitor economy expanding by 7% to more than £203 million – also a record.
New figures also reveal the greatest growth was in Lincoln’s accommodation sector (16%), while food and drink, and transport sectors both grew by 6%.
Employment for the city’s tourism businesses rose by nearly 4% with the total number of people working in the tourism industry reaching more than 2,500.
Lydia Rusling, chief executive at Visit Lincoln, said: “From our own research we knew that last year was a good one for the city – but the official figures released this week have exceeded our expectations.
“This is unprecedented growth which rivals that of much bigger historic cities across the UK – we should be incredibly proud.
“Tourism is a very competitive market and by working together Lincoln was able to attract more visitors than ever before.
“The Lincoln Knights Trail, Battles and Dynasties exhibition and Domesday Book at Lincoln Castle all gave great incentives to visit in 2017.
“New developments such as Stokes at The Lawn, our promotion at London Kings Cross, along with VisitLincoln.com and award-winning campaigns created a winning formula.”
Claire McDowall, principal events and culture officer at City of Lincoln Council, added: “As Lincoln continues to grow from strength to strength it is very encouraging to see that the hard work being put in to promote our city as a world-class tourist destination is really paying off.
“Lincoln has a vibrant and exciting future, and I expect that visitor numbers will continue to grow as we invest in the city and make it an even more appealing destination for visitors from all over the world.”
From left: Stephen Marriott, Lincoln Hotel; Samantha Mellows, Lincoln Cathedral; Richard Baxter, Lincoln BIG; Lydia Rusling, Visit Lincoln; Jean-Sebastien Braen, Stokes Coffee; Claire McDowall, Lincoln City Council; Michele Sims, Visitor Information Centre; Kim Vickers, Lincoln Castle; and Gavin Thomas, Lincoln City Council.