The LGA and NABMA issued a press notice just before Christmas on the first messages emerging from the work undertaken by NABMA Market Place on Christmas markets. Preliminary findings in this new research for the Local Government Association, in partnership with NABMA Market Place, reveals that “some areas have seen a 50 per cent jump in visitors compared to last year, despite the snowy weather, and that Christmas markets are on track to have broken the record £250 million spent in markets in 2015.
“Coach tours and “staycations” have contributed to this seasonal surge, showing that many Brits have preferred to spend their money locally rather than travel abroad to markets on the continent”, according to the LGA which represents 370 councils in England and Wales.
“Councils have worked closely with local traders and operators to make sure a variety of stalls and attractions have kept people coming back, in a tradition that stretches back 35 years since the first dedicated Christmas market in England was established.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “These findings show that people have embraced new ways to come together and enjoy themselves in our towns and cities at this special time of year.
“Our Christmas markets have grown from strength to strength, rivalling even the long-established German markets as places to visit and spend their time and money.
“Councils have also worked with organisers to bolster security measures, helping everyone relax and enjoy these markets as safely as possible to make the most of the festive period.”
NABMA President, Cllr Chris Rosling-Josephs, said: “NABMA are delighted to be working in partnership with the LGA on this important piece of research that will help councils take decisions on their Christmas retail offer.
“Markets are a key part of the retail offer of a place, not just at Christmas, but may places up and down the country are providing quality events that appeal to families, offer opportunities to buy something different, enjoy festive food and drink, and encourage dwell time in town centres.”
It is hoped that more information on the research will be shared at the NABMA Birmingham Conference.