Back after Covid – Bath’s Christmas Market attracted an estimated half-a-million visitors and provided a significant boost to the local economy – according to initial figures announced today.
The return of the market in 2022 has been hailed a resounding success by visitors and stallholders.
After a two-year break because of the pandemic, the market welcomed an estimated half a million visitors over eighteen days between 24 November and 8 December 2022.
Building on the experience of previous markets, Bath & North East Somerset Council, which took over the running of the event in 2020, made a number of changes to the 20th anniversary event.
The layout of the 178 chalets selling seasonal gifts, food and drink was altered to reduce overcrowding in areas of high footfall, and for the first time carts were introduced, to enable more micro-businesses to sell their wares at a reduced rate.
Feedback from both visitors and stallholders has been overwhelmingly positive, with 94% of stallholders reporting a successful market and 95% of visitors saying they’d now consider returning to Bath at another point in the year.
Councillor Kevin Guy, council leader, said: “Bath’s Christmas Market has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in Europe for a number of years and for many people it’s a highlight of their festive calendar. After a two-year break because of Covid, it was wonderful to dust off the chalets and welcome back the stallholders and visitors.
“Running the market for the first time as part of ‘Bath at Christmas’ worked incredibly well, the illuminations added to the festive atmosphere created by the market and after the dark days of the pandemic the city really felt alive again.
“The market really is a fantastic draw which boosts our local economy including hotels, pubs and restaurants. It’s also really encouraging to hear the majority of visitors enjoyed their time here so much they are considering coming back.
“We’re always looking to improve though and planning is already under way to make this year’s Christmas market even better.”
More than 200 traders and 36 charities took part in the market. Zoe from Zoe Rose Art said: “As a local artist, having the opportunity to trade at Bath Christmas Market was a bucket list moment and the experience did not disappoint. The organisation, planning and support of the events team were second to none, every detail was thoroughly planned and executed.”
Initial data from an independent survey of visitors to the market commissioned by the council reveals almost half come every year. In addition:
- 75% who visited Bath over the period came solely because of the Christmas market.
- 37% stayed for an average of 2.4 nights.
- 74% shopped outside the market.
- 79% ate a meal in a local restaurant.
- 48% came on foot or used public transport.
Davina Ware comments: “One aspect that definitely needs sorting out for the next market is the loos.
There was a definite lack of facilities such as mobile toilets at the coach drop-off on the royal avenue. It wasn’t until the toilets broke at the RVP cafe a few days after the market had started and complaints made that some were hastily provided. All those people desperate, after their long bus journeys, need to have immediate access to toilets!!!!
I also heard there were large queues for the loos at Waitrose.
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