York traffic up 10% for Christmas market

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Footfall figures for four of the city’s key streets increased by 7.7% year-on-year and between December 4 and December 10 by 9.2%

Organisers say a new booking system for coaches has helped boost coach business

York St Nicholas Fair has been heralded a roaring success by marketing agency Make It York, organisers of the 37-day festive event. Footfall figures show York’s Christmas Festival drew in the crowds and market traders have reported business was buoyant. Between November 27 and December 3, footfall figures for four of the city’s key streets – Coney Street, Parliament Street, Stonegate and Micklegate – increased by 7.7% year-on-year and between December 4 and December 10 by 9.2%.

Organisers say a new booking system for coaches has helped boost coach business, with 455 bookings bringing in around 25,000 visitors – in addition to those who travel by bus, train and by car. Coach bookings are reported to be up by an estimated 10% year-on-year and parking charges were held at 2016 rates.

Steve Brown, Managing Director, Make It York, said: “We’ve worked hard to improve the quality of the St Nicholas Fair – making sure it is a true shoppers’ experience – it has become so popular that we had a waiting list of traders who want to be part of it.

“The message is getting out there that York’s St Nicholas Fair is different and special.

“We have a really good variety of stallholders, many of whom make their goods locally in Yorkshire. People want to buy things that are made here and support local independent businesses.”

Chris Price, Head of City Centre and Events, Make It York, said: “Three years ago we made the decision to run the York St Nicholas Fair for 37 days, rather than the traditional one weekend in November. This has been a phenomenal success – popular with both traders and customers. It has also helped to spread the business across the whole festive season, making for a more comfortable experience for everyone.”

Opening hours of York St Nicholas Fair were extended on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, until 2000hrs and the initiative appears to have paid dividends, with couples and families making a special trip into York in the evenings to enjoy the fair.