Record 4.2 million visitors to Thanet gives £319 million boost to isle’s economy

Turner Contemporary Photo Frank Leppard

Thanet welcomed a record 4.2 million visitors, worth a whopping £319 million to the local economy, in 2017, according to research released this week.

Independent research commissioned by Visit Kent showed that the number of day trips to the Thanet district leapt by 9.9% in 2017, meanwhile the total number of nights stayed in the district increased by 4.9%.

The total number of jobs supported by tourism rose by 8.7% to 7,950, with the industry accounting for an impressive 19% of total employment across Thanet.

Viking Bay by Dan Thomsett

Cllr Ash Ashbee, Cabinet Member for Coastal Development at Thanet District Council said: “The results clearly show that tourism in Thanet is going from strength to strength. The number of day trips to the area is up by 10% which is a solid increase but in the context of the national figure of 0.8% it really is brilliant news.

“We have seen the popularity of Thanet steadily increase in recent years and its reputation as a go-to destination is now firmly established. We are so delighted that the growth we experienced previously has continued. We recognise the economic benefits that a thriving tourism offer brings to the local economy, creating jobs and driving spend in the local area.

Margate Caves Photo Frank Leppard

“Our ambition is to continue to attract new and returning visitors to this beautiful destination – there are always reasons to visit Thanet. In 2019, Margate Caves is due to reopen in spring and from late September, the Turner Contemporary is hosting the Turner Prize.”

Overall Kent welcomed 65 million visitors in 2017, and the visitor economy’s value rose by 7% to £3.8 billion.

The county remains the third most visited destination outside of London for foreign visitors.

Ramsgate beach Photo Brian Whitehead

Chief executive of Visit Kent Deirdre Wells OBE said: “Tourism is the UK’s fastest growing service sector and these figures demonstrate the contribution which our vital industry makes to the economy of Kent.

“The collective efforts of tourism businesses across the county have paid dividends and this partnership will be critical in ensuring that this growth continues during a challenging year ahead.”

For the full report go to or the visitor website


  1. Use some of this money to clean up the rubbish. Thanet is filthy. There is no excuse if this article is correct. Employ some more rubbish clearer.

  2. Shame it will all disappear if Mansion Airport is allowed to reopen as s cargo hub. Who in their right mind would want to come to a seaside resort that has planes roaring overhead all day and night

  3. Perhaps some of the money could be used to get some decent xmas lights on the front this coming xmas???

  4. I’ve lived here all my life & i have seen thanet go form what is was like in the 80’s & 90’s with the ferry,bembom brother’s,pleasurerama,airport & then it all disappeared & then thanet when downhill fast & margate,ramsgate suffered & so did cliftonville.
    You all m oan about there isn’t much to do & then u all want the airport back then turn round & start saying u don’t,then u all want the ferry back & then u allm oan about it coming back,Teen’s & adult’s causing trouble for thanet e.g smashed window’s,cyclist’s causing trouble is well etc so let’s bring all this back,create job’s,clean up thanet & try to sort thanet out instead os saying 1 thing then another at least these companie’s want to try & bring thanet back to life ..

  5. That’s wonderful news and for once so positive!
    Rome wasn’t built in a day and everyone can make a difference. Everyone can go out and pick up rubbish and educate and improve their neighbourhood. Look at Dalby square. It took hard work from everyone but what a result. It is possible to change things for the better with lots of positive actions. Here’s to an even more successful 2019 for everyone 🙂

  6. Isn’t the Turner Centre free entry? I wonder why? Could it be that the people that visit this nonsense are wealthy luvvies from Kensington. So, where is this money being spent? If it’s in local business great, let’s have a reduction in our council tax as TDC would have more income from these visitors. Oops, what am I saying, TDC couldn’t run a tap, they are being run by Tories, ex UKIP, ex tories and any other self serving toe rags that gets him or herself elected.
    Kick em out along with that twicer Mackinlay .

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