BID team hails success of Easter events programme

Visitor numbers up two per cent year-on-year as people head to the city centre for the annual Chilli Festival, family film screenings and the popular Easter Eggsplorer trail 

Last month’s April showers didn’t put a dampener on the number of people heading into Chester city centre according to a new report, which shows visitor numbers were up by almost two per cent against the previous year. Data from independent retail analyst Springboard on behalf of CH1ChesterBID showed that high street footfall across the UK was down overall by four per cent, meaning Chester was one of just a few places to buck the national trend.

More than 1.6 million visitors headed into Chester city centre throughout the month despite there being a total of 16 rainy days and just six sunny ones. That’s in stark contrast to 2017, when Chester basked in sunshine with 14 sunny days and just one rainy day. Events such as the Chester Chilli Festival made a welcome return and helped draw the crowds with 20 vendors, live music and Clash of the Titans Chilli Eating Competition seeing an additional 2,100 people on Northgate Street compared to the same Saturday in 2017.

CH1ChesterBID also hosted Easter family-film screenings that attracted more than 1,000 people throughout the month. Martina and her two sons traveled to Chester from New Brighton to see a film and enjoy a day out ‘You certainly know how to entertain families visiting Chester.’

Hundreds of families took part in the Easter Eggsplorer Citywide Egg Hunt trail, which ran from March, 24, until Easter Sunday on April, 15. Five year old Bella was the lucky winner of a £50 customer prize bundle from The Entertainer on Foregate Street.

Anna, Bella’s Mum, said: “What a fantastic way to experience Chester! Everyone in the shops were so lovely and welcoming, some of them even had extra sweets to hand out to our kids while they were eggsploring. Bella and Esme were SO excited to collect the prize bundle and The Entertainer gave us a fantastic bundle of gifts which both the girls are already getting stuck into – especially the slime!! We are all very grateful to CH1ChesterBID, The Entertainer and all the shops who took part in the brilliant Easter Egg Trail!”

Emily Ghazarian, Events Manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “Despite some really wet weather in April, we’re really pleased to see an increase in city centre visitors throughout the month compared to the figures from 2017.

“On behalf of Chester’s city centre businesses, we work hard all year-round to organise events and activities that give people more reasons to visit Chester. As the Springboard report shows, the combination of the Chilli Festival, family film screenings and the Easter Eggsplorer trail have proved really popular this year, which is great to see.

“We’re under no illusions that it’s a tough time for the high street with some well-established brands closing down and some of our well-known local businesses doing the same in recent months. Online shopping continues to rise in popularity and that’s something we’re having to contend with along with a challenging economic climate.

“But along with our city centre retailers, we’re doing everything we can to rise to the challenge and entice shoppers into Chester to experience something that you just can’t get from a laptop or a computer. It’s so important that we continue supporting our local city centre businesses so we’re working hard to hopefully build on the success we had throughout April.”