WEST Yorkshire has seen an influx of LGBT holidaymakers thanks to the success of BBC One drama Gentleman Jack, tourism chiefs have said.

The national television showcase of Anne Lister – which was partly filmed in Bradford – has sparked a tourism boom in the county, with some travelling from as far afield as Australia to see her former stomping ground.

Hotels have reported increases in tourists of up to 20 per cent, shops are selling Gentleman Jack artwork and bars are serving Anne Lister cocktails.

Nearly 1,000 people – the majority of whom are gay women from the US, UK and Europe – have already signed up for a festival in Halifax over Anne Lister’s birthday, according to Jennifer Grant, founder of lesbian group holiday specialist Diva Destinations.

The business runs Gentleman Jack group tours and is working with Gentleman Jack fans in the US to organise the April 2020 event.

“What we have is a remarkable true story that has captured people’s imaginations,” she said.

“For the lesbian community it is huge event. A lot of us can relate to what she went through and learning about her strength and resilience really has changed a lot of people’s lives.”

“The impact it’s had on the tourism of Halifax is incredible – it’s hard to get a room there now!”

Anne Lister’s historic family home, Shibden Hall, has had to extend its opening hours to meet a huge increase in demand.

In August last year 2,579 people visited the 15th century building, in the same month this year 14,419 came, according to Calderdale Council which runs the site.

Zohrah Zancudi, Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Services, said Gentleman Jack was having a “phenomenal” impact on the area, placing it “firmly on the global stage”.

She continued: “We are seeing record visitor numbers at Shibden Hall, a surge in international visitors to Halifax and Calderdale, and a major boost to the economy. Local businesses, museums, hotels, events and attractions have all reported an increase in income.

“We always knew that Shibden and Anne Lister’s story were special, but thanks to the series, a much wider and more diverse range of people are now discovering Anne’s amazing legacy.

“We’re especially moved by the deep, personal impact that Gentleman Jack and Anne’s story are having on people all around the world, and proud that Calderdale is becoming more widely known as a key cultural, LGBTQ and heritage destination.”

Cultural Destinations, an Arts Council England-funded project, has also reported a big increase in lesbian tourists. Meanwhile, Bankfield Museum in Halifax has extended its Gentleman Jack exhibition because of the unprecedented number of visitors.

The ‘pink pound’ is said to be a boon to local economies.

In May the BBC announced the show would be returning for a second series.

Rozina Breen, Head of BBC North, said: “It’s fantastic to see a BBC series making such a big impact in the region. Productions like Gentleman Jack employ a lot of local people during the filming phase and it gives our diverse communities a real sense of pride when one of our series leaves a strong legacy such as this.”