Football tourists 'worth £684 million to Britain'

Football tourists 'worth £684 million to Britain'

10/09/2015 at 11:47Updated 10/09/2015 at 11:58

800,000 fans a year come to England to watch Premier League matches, bringing in over half a billion pounds to the UK economy a report claims.

The research by the Office of National Statistics claims that the influx of fans to the country coming to watch top flight football drew in £684 million in 2014, a 15 per cent rise on the previous year.

Manchester United and Arsenal were the top two destinations for fans, registering 109,000 tourists apiece.

Liverpool is close behind on 99,000, with Chelsea fourth on 89,000.

Wembley (51,000), Tottenham (40,000) and Manchester City (33,000) are the next names on the list, followed by a surprise inclusion: Fulham, on 30,000.

The Cottagers are a relatively small club and were even relegated in May 2014, but are a popular destination for fans due to the price and relatively easy availability of tickets, as well as a reputation for a picturesque stadium and well-behaved fans.

The report - commissioned by VisitBritain - also claimed that one in 10 visits to the north-west of England is taken solely for the purpose of watching a football match.

Tracey Crouch, the tourism minister, welcomed the figures as proof of “the positive role football is playing in showcasing key destinations in many different regions … It’s great for local economies, great for football and great for the UK’s tourism industry.”

Sean Bones, the Manchester United Supporters Trust vice-chairman, told the BBC: “It’s good for the country when additional funds come into the economy but we need clubs to reward the long-term loyalty of our supporters.”