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Markets on course for record year

Traders' tills bursting as visitor numbers increase

Published on December 23rd 2010.

Markets on course for record year

Manchester’s Christmas Markets are on track for a record year in 2010, and could rack up more than £50m.

The eight city centre markets closed yesterday and early indications show it was the busiest year since they first appeared in 1999.

During the markets' opening weekend in November, footfall in King Street - where the new French market was located - was up by 130 per cent.

A massive 185,642 people were counted on the street, compared with 80,511 during the same weekend in 2009, making it King Street's busiest week since counting began in May 2006.

Around 40,000 gluwein mugs have been sold, and traders were forced to call in emergency supplies to make sure they had enough for the last few days.

The returnable mugs, which visitors pay a deposit for on collection, were introduced in 2008 because they are more environmentally friendly than disposable plastic glasses, but they have become collectables.

The markets even picked up coverage around the world. America's Frommer's travel website named Manchester as one of the top 10 Christmas market locations, alongside events in Barcelona, Vancouver, and Dresden.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester city centre spokesman, said: "The Christmas markets get bigger and better every year, and 2010 will be remembered as a landmark year.

Although it's too early to get any detailed figures for the number of visitors, the feedback we've had from traders is excellent and we are confident this year is the busiest we've had so far.

"We’ve attracted thousands of visitors from around the world, and even our mugs look set to become collectors' items.

"Mancunians should be proud that an American travel guide now places us alongside German cities which have been holding Christmas markets for centuries. In the space of just 12 years, Manchester's markets have become a truly international phenomenon."

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