Updated on December 11, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Manchester’s tourism sector is worth more than key sectors such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and creative, digital, and tech. Research shows that city breaks are immensely popular with tourists globally, which puts Manchester in a strong position to attract domestic and inbound tourists. Manchester has become a powerhouse for tourism in the Northwest of England, helping the region reach 12.5 million overnight domestic tourists in 2019.

The City of Manchester is looking forward to an optimistic future in tourism with plans to redevelop areas. Exciting developments will see an array of new hotels, skyscrapers, and attractions that are set to be opened this year 2022, ready for the domestic tourism boom and recovery of the international travel industry in 2023.

Here are some quick facts and trends in the Manchester tourism industry:


  • The latest data shows that tourism activity in Greater Manchester supports £9bn economic impacts including £4.86bn generated in Manchester local authority.
  • Manchester has become a powerhouse for tourism in the Northwest of England, helping the region reach 12.5 million overnight domestic tourists in 2019.
  • Of the 1.89 million international visits to Greater Manchester in 2019, 1.7m were to Manchester, maintaining its position as the third most visited UK destination, behind London (1) and Edinburgh (2).
  • A day visitor spent an average of £46.
  • In the last ten years, business tourism to Greater Manchester has increased by 50%, generating £862m for the local economy annually and supporting over 35,000 jobs.
  • Within the last decade, the city’s hotel performance has been on the rise and occupancy was stable pre-pandemic at around 80% and rates increased slightly in euro terms at a CAGR of 1.0% for 2009-19.
  • The region attracts 119 million visitors per year; 11 million stays and 108 million day visitors.
  • The events that lead to the highest occupancy peaks include European, premiership, and cup games held at Old Trafford Football Ground and the Etihad Stadium; concerts at Manchester Arena and outdoor stadia, sporting events at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester Arena, and Sportcity, and cultural events and festivals.
  • The City of Manchester in the UK is looking forward to an optimistic future in tourism with plans to redevelop areas of Deansgate, Ancoats, and Castlefield, among many other areas in a bid to attract more tourists and residents to the area (for more UK Tourism statistics, check out our guide here).
  • Manchester redefines itself and differentiates from other cities through the construction of modern architecture, industrial heritage, and new attractions, including a contemporary art museum, a National Trust heritage site, and a 6.5-hectare park in Mayfield.
  • Over the last 10 years, Manchester has increased its conference value and volume by 50% and the Greater Manchester Business Tourism Strategy now aims to grow the total conference value again to £1.2b by 2025.
  • Manchester’s tourism sector is worth more than key sectors such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and creative, digital, and tech.
  • The peak for international leisure trips to Greater Manchester is in the summer months. Possibly due to the plethora of festivals, music performances, and markets.
  • Visitmanchester.com website receives the second-highest traffic to all UK cities and performs well amongst our other peer cities outside the UK.
  • In 2018/19 Marketing Manchester worked with over 300 national and international journalists, broadcasters, bloggers, and influencers to generate coverage of Greater Manchester as a destination to visit, meet, invest and study.
  • The Manchester hotel supply experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1% between 2012 and 2021 and is now the largest market outside London (by room count).
  • A number of attractions in Manchester are free including the Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, the Museum of Science and Industry, Imperial War Museum North, and the People’s History Museum.
  • Manchester had 7,414 active Airbnb listings in 2021.
  • According to Google Trends the search volumes for keywords such as “Visit Manchester” and “Manchester hotel” had in 2021 and 2022 almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
Searches for visit manchester

Search data for “visit manchester” in Google Trends

Searches for hotel manchester

Search data for “hotel manchester” in Google trends


  • Visitors are primarily attracted to the UK by its culture, history, and wanting to visit London. Family connections, natural environment/countryside, and want to visit another UK city/town were also important motivators.
  • Notable crossovers can be seen between US visitors to Manchester and visits to London, Birmingham, and Liverpool.
  • Although many are attracted to contemporary offers, historic elements hold particular appeal. These include visiting historic buildings (e.g. older theatres) to experience the culture, the opportunity to find out more about history including the history of the Manchester area, and the opportunity to see historic collections.
  • The most popular activities of visitors are; eating out (73%), shopping (59%), visiting a museum and gallery (58%), visiting bars and clubs (29%), visiting a historical site or building (25%), visiting an ‘other’ attraction i.e. not a museum or gallery, and spectating or participating in a sports event (13% each).
  • The sources that visitors were more likely to use prior to their trip were: General online searches i.e. google, bing, etc(by 38%).TripAdvisor (23%), An accommodation booking website i.e. booking.com, laterooms.com, trivago.com etc (15%). Recommendations from friends and family (14%), Visit Manchester online channelswebsite, social media, enewsletters (11%), Facebook sitesother to Visit Manchester (8%), National travel websites (7%), Instagram sitesother to Visit Manchester (5%).
  • The attractions receiving a much higher proportion of staying visitors (when compared to day visitors) were; Manchester United FC Museum & Tour, the Science & Industry Museum, People’s History Museum, and the National Football Museum.


  • 48% of visitors to Greater Manchester were under 35 years of age and 10% were 65+.
  • The average length of stay for an international visitor was 4.3 nights, compared to 2.3 for a visitor within the UK.
  • In 2018, The top ten visitor markets for the accumulative ‘holiday’ and ‘miscellaneous’ visits were: Irish Republic, USA, Norway, Germany, China 6. Italy, Spain, France, GCC, and The Netherlands.
  • The USA is the most prominent international market for Culture in Greater Manchester.
  • International visitors are more likely to visit culture alone and less likely to visit with children than UK visitors.
  • The top 5 words used to describe perceptions of Manchester by visitors are Soccer, Good, Fun, Football, and Industrial.


  • The peak for international business visitors to Greater Manchester is September – November, providing opportunities during a busy time in Greater Manchester’s cultural calendar.
  • Conferences and business events hosted within Greater Manchester show that 55% of delegates are ‘day’ delegates and 45% staying delegates.
  • Manchester is clearly on the radar of many US leisure visitors.
  • From 2016 to 2020, more than 250 whole properties were added each year to Airbnb listings in Manchester.
  • The UK had an average Airbnb occupancy rate of 23.8% in 2021.
  • Visitors to Manchester rate Manchester 4 out of 5 as a leisure destination across twelve categories.
  • Manchester local authority is the most visited in Great Britain by domestic residents on a staying visit; to include holiday, business and visiting friends and relatives, at 2.6m visits, with Edinburgh and Birmingham to follow.
  • Conference and business events support the wider tourism industry in Manchester, both in terms of business revenue streams and through supporting jobs across several sectors.
  • Manchester has become a powerhouse for tourism in the Northwest of England, helping the region reach 12.5 million overnight domestic tourists in 2019.
  • Marketing Manchester is the destination management organisation for Greater Manchester, promoting the region to a global audience.