A BRIGHOUSE sporting facility is among the attractions that have contributed to the “extraordinary” success of Calderdale’s tourism industry.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet has approved a new Tourism Strategy policy which will lead up to the borough’s 50th anniversary in 2024 with the clear conclusion it is a major growth area.

Introducing the paper and outlining its importance, Cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) – at his last Cabinet meeting before standing down from the council in May – said Calderdale’s tourism assets could grow the economy further.

He said: “Tourism is one of Calderdale’s most extraordinary success stories.

“Tourism is worth almost £350 million per year now to this area and that’s almost £100 million more than 2010, it’s an amazing transformation in less than a decade.

“Tourism supports around 5,000 full time equivalent jobs in the borough. Visitor spend has increased by five per cent between 2016 and 2017 alone.

VIDEO: View from the top of the UK's tallest outdoor climbing wall

“This is an enormously important potential further growth area for us.”

Among the attractions that have helped draw tourists to the area are Roktface in Brighouse - the highest man-made climbing wall in the UK which opened in 2017.

Coun Collins said it had not happened by accident and was the result of ambitious and inventive strategic planning, the latest plans bridging 2015 and now.

This was a period of time which had seen the emergence of Calderdale’s international visitor profile with the listing of the Calder Valley and Hebden Bridge in the National Geographic magazine’s World’s Top 19 “to go” destinations, the full opening of Halifax Piece Hall following refurbishment, 6.4 million tourist day trips made to the borough, and Eureka! museum of childhood’s record 300,000 visitors.

Three consecutive involvements in Tour De Yorkshire following Calderdale’s inclusion in the Tour De France also had a role to play and the economic development of festivals had been a success, with the council’s tourism and communications teams telling Calderdale’s story well and getting the message out not just regionally but nationally and internationally, said Coun Collins.

And despite difficulties that were being talked about, Welcome To Yorkshire had an enormous effect on tourism in the county, not least in Calderdale, he said.

He added: “Our aim in the next five years will be to further strengthen Calderdale’s position in the national and international tourism trade.”