Tourist Bosses and Ely Mayor Hit Back At Survey That Branded Ely Unattractive

PUBLISHED: 18:19 30 March 2010 | UPDATED: 13:16 02 June 2010

Tracey Harding with staff

Tracey Harding with staff

A SURVEY that branded Ely as one of the least attractive cities for UK tourists has received a cool reception from tourist bosses in the city. For despite the survey, figures show that Ely is well and truly on the tourism map, with visitors flooding in to

A SURVEY that branded Ely as one of the least attractive cities for UK tourists has received a cool reception from tourist bosses in the city.

For despite the survey, figures show that Ely is well and truly on the tourism map, with visitors flooding in to the cathedral and other tourist hot spots around the city centre and riverside.

"I assume the people who took part in the survey had just not heard of Ely," said Tracey Harding, team leader for tourism in East Cambridgeshire.

"We have 1.25m million tourists visit the city every year, and we know from their comments that they love to come here."

Many of the places listed in the top 10 of Britain's least attractive cities came under fire for being boring and dangerous, but Ely found itself a surprise inclusion, because almost three-quarters of the 5,000 people surveyed were not aware that the city existed.

Tracey added: "I was more surprised than disappointed to see the results of the survey, which put Ely in the top 10 of least visited cities; I assume the people questioned were ill informed about the city, rather than thinking it is appalling," said Tracey.

"This weekend some visitors stopped in Ely to see what the fuss was about - because the survey has been mentioned widely in the media - and said they a lovely day in the city. If there is one benefit from this survey, it is the increased publicity it has given the city, so helping to bring more visitors to the area."

According to the survey conducted by Travelodge, the Yorkshire town of Bradford was top of the least visited cities in the UK, and was branded: "dangerous, ugly and boring".

Other locations high on the 'do-not-visit' list were Wakefield, Dundee, Sunderland and Newport in South Wales. Ely was placed eighth, with Ripon and Litchfield numbering nine and 10.

London led the list of the most-visited cities, followed by Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and York.

''We live in a world of misconceptions, and often don't realise it," said Travelodge spokeswoman Shakila Ahmed. ''A significant proportion of the images of cities we have in our minds may be biased, out-of-date and not in tune with reality.''

Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications from the VisitBritain organisation, said; ''This report has highlighted that Britons need to reacquaint themselves with some of the UK's great cities.

''It's a shame that misconceptions and lack of the UK's knowledge of what cities have to offer could stop British travellers from having a great weekend break.''

Ely mayor Cllr Richard Hobbs is so angry about the survey that he has issued a challenge to the directors of Travelodge to take a tour of the city.

"I want to show them what they are missing," said Cllr Hobbs. "I find the survey extremely disappointing, for it to disregard such a beautiful city.

"Ely is so small, that perhaps some people have not heard about it, but that does not make it a lesser place to visit.

Turn To Page 3 to find out what people thought of the survey.


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