Bolton’s tourism industry generated £431.8m for the town in 2016, according to new figures.

An additional £11.4m flowed into the local economy, a 2.7 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of £420.4m.

The total number of visitors also increased in 2016, from £6.5m to £6.6m – a 1.3 per cent rise.

The figures have been released by Bolton Council as part of an annual report which outlines tourism performance.

The four day Bolton Food and Drink Festival which attracted more than 260,000 visitors in 2016, the gruelling Ironman UK Triathlon, and the world’s largest Ironkids race are amongst the events fuelling visitor numbers.

The growth is also attributed to popular attractions such as Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive which was in the top ten most visited attractions in Greater Manchester.

The Octagon Theatre, Bolton’s historic halls – Smithills Hall and Hall i’ th’ Wood, and Moorgarth’s £23m transformational refurbishment of the Market Place Shopping Centre have also drawn visitors into the town centre.

Bolton also has a good supply of hotels and bed and breakfasts which attract visitors throughout the year.

Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, welcomed the figures. He said: “These figures show that Bolton is continuing to attract visitors, with a record number of people choosing to spend time in our town – and spend their money here.

“Bolton has so much to offer, including fantastic events, picturesque countryside and attractions such as Bolton Museum and the Aquarium continue to pull people in.

“The data from 2016 reflects the ongoing appeal of our major events such as Food and Drink Festival and the Ironman UK Triathlon.

“Every year we work hard to attract as many visitors as possible and the top quality events we provide and the attractions and accommodation across Bolton are certainly doing that.

“The retail and leisure offer has also improved in the town centre with investment in the Market Place Shopping Centre, and the rich mix of what Bolton has to offer is drawing visitors.

“Bolton is most definitely open for business. We recently unveiled our £1 billion town centre masterplan which will continue to further regenerate our town centre.”

The data has been compiled using the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor (STEAM).

STEAM uses a range of data sources including: hotel occupancy rates; surveys, and visitor figures.

All local authorities in Greater Manchester support Marketing Manchester on the production of the STEAM report