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100,000 In Two Months: Corrie Tour Smashes It

Jonathan Schofield has 'I told you so' moment

Written by . Published on May 30th 2014.

100,000 In Two Months: Corrie Tour Smashes It

SMUGNESS is not a pleasant characteristic. But what the hell, we did say this would happen. 

100,000 visitors in less than two months, half a million visitors a year if it continues, hotel rooms full, restaurants with lots of added customers. Simply why would any sensible city lose this bonanza?

The re-opening of the Coronation Street set in central Manchester has delivered over 100,000 visits in less than two months. If we average a ticket price at £15 (standard is £16.50 but there are concessions and so on) and then add a very conservative £15 for general spend in the city, the economic boost over a year will be something around £20m.

Unfortunately at present the Corrie set will remain open only until September. It may even be demolished as the Granada site - now called the St John's Quarter - is redeveloped. 

Given the tourist figures just released that would appear to be madness. We made the case for retention back in February 2012 (here), which is why we're now feeling smug. 

We interviewed Dave Jones, at the time, of Cavern City Tours in Liverpool who had to rebuild the world famous Cavern Club after it was needlessly destroyed in the seventies.

"There'd be no excuse not to keep it," he said. "It's there already. Nothing has to be re-built as it had to with the Cavern. This isn't the sixties or the seventies, there is a huge tourist infrastructure in Manchester today. The Corrie set could bring in thousands of visitors, be a main part of the tourism picture. It would be a sin to get rid of it, inexplicable. You couldn't make an excuse for losing that revenue now and getting rid of it."

So on Confidential we were astonished that the city council, the tourism agency Marketing Manchester and other interested agencies were so lukewarm about keeping the set. They seemed bent on wilfully ignoring the arguments people such as Dave Jones put forward. 

There were even mutterings in the Town Hall of whether the Coronation Street brand fitted the Manchester brand.




As we wrote at the time: 'That the tourism agency and council aren't prepared to make a firm commitment to saving the Corrie city centre set - a scene of so much drama for so many millions for so many years - is surprising.'

The only assumption that could be made was that the city and Granada didn't want any would-be purchasers of the vast site to be put off by having a world famous TV set in the way as they levelled the place and banged up apartments and offices. Let's hope Allied London, a developer big on imagination and, forgive the cliché, well-known for thinking 'outside the box', now move in a different direction. 

The official tone has changed.

Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Marketing Manchester, said: “2014 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for Greater Manchester’s tourism industry. From the opening of Central Library and redevelopment of Bolton Market, to the Whitworth Art Gallery and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House later in the year, it is a year full of exciting new things to see and do.

"Of course, Coronation Street The Tour has played a significant role in 2014’s tourism story and has now captured the imagination of a landmark 100,000 visitors. It goes without saying that visitation on this scale has a positive impact on the local economy and I wish the team at Continuum every success for their remaining run at Old Granada Studios.”

That last sentence rings out a warning.

Despite the 'positive impact' Manchester might be about to do the most unbelievably silly thing and drop this tourist asset. 

100,000 visitors in less than two months, half a million visitors a year, hotel rooms full, restaurants and bars with lots of added customers.

Simply why would any sensible city lose this bonanza?

Our review of the current tour is here.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 

Will this be the fate of the city centre set?


Will this be the fate of the city centre set?

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24 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

I don't think being the home of a down market soap opera is good for the image of a modern city like Manchester.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

It's a very, very tiny part of the image. I for one support keeping the set, especially as the new set in Trafford will be inaccessible to the public.

Jonathan SchofieldMay 30th 2014.

Anon, we need all tourism we can get in all its variety. I take guests around who are studying nineteenth century radicalism and others who want to go on a ghost tour. Many want to do both. Corrie is not for me, but do you really want to turn your back on 500k tourists and the money they bring in because of some snooty conceit over 'a modern city'. What this place does better than just about anywhere is mingle the high-brow with the popular, 25 Nobel prize-winners and progressive politics with two of the most important footy teams anywhere and a huge entertainment legacy. I pity the narrow world view you have.

The Manchester ManMay 30th 2014.

It should be incorporated into MOSI, alongside a new Manchester music gallery, to showcase the history of Manchester's popular culture industry.

AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

"smashes it"?? Tuilsa or some other yoof written this piece?

TuilsaMay 30th 2014.

Yes. Did you like it?

TULISAMay 30th 2014.


1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

Very funny, can't legislate for an occasional typo. In other great news Schofields crappy tunnel tours been scrapped, great day and a shot in the arm for health and safety aficionados.

TuilsaMay 30th 2014.

But I'm called Tuilsa

AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

The current set is just that. TV production moves quickly. It won't be long before this is a dated version of the real thing used in Salford. No one will want to see that. Demand has also been driven by the fact access to the set is limited 'now or never'. Keep it open for another few years and interest will wain.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
LukewarmdogMay 30th 2014.

Yeah stupid history, burn down the castles and rip up the parks, what people really want is office tours. This was popular when it was open, is popular again and I don't see why it wouldn't remain popular but if in a few years it isn't.. Then you close it then, not now whilst it is booming

AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

Anon, it's in Trafford not Salford.

AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

Blimey that's nitpicking - it's just on the cusp of both! It's in Media City, which is officially Salford. But just across on Trafford Wharf...

AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

What organisation gets the ticket money?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

ITV plc

AnonymousMay 30th 2014.

Why the hell are people supporting the closure of the set and the end of what is clearly a very popular tourist attraction? Even if demand drops over time, it shows that Manchester needs tourist attractions so may help bring new ones to the city? Whether you're a corrie fan or not it makes sense to keep it open, surely?

1 Response: Reply To This...
NorrisMay 30th 2014.

The owners have probably assessed that most people will visit it once and then not again, so after the initial surge interest there will be reducing returns and so the viability of keeping it open will decline past the point of keeping it open.

NorrisMay 30th 2014.

Oops, repeating myself there but you get the point.

Margaret HardmanMay 30th 2014.

I think that it should be kept open, all year round, it has proved to be just as popular in the couple of months it has been open, as it was years ago. I remember taking my children there and we had a great time. Perhaps if it continues the prices could be reduced a little....especially if families want to make a day out of it, because let's face it, once you are in there, souvenir shops etc will get you before you leave.

Eugene Spain)May 30th 2014.

100% behind Schofield,why oh why would you not want 500,000 extra people in the City per annum ,it does not matter what you think of Corryorrie,it's called business,end of.If people want to see it.give it to them.

Theresa EvansMay 30th 2014.

It's a no brainer.

Patricia CallaghanMay 30th 2014.

It would be madness to rip it down, it is a part of history for all those years. If coach parties come from not just this country but As far as America why would they not enjoy the cash it brings.

Peter CoppingMay 31st 2014.

And are you all going to set up a preservation society and get finance to run your theme park? The hotel figures show that football is what drives visitors numbers a for day trips shopping.

Peter CoppingMay 31st 2014.

Incidentally the Football Museum had now 500000 pa. but we will see if they can maintain that.

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