Tourists to flock to Lyra's Oxford

Oxford Mail: Jane Lubbock and Digna Martinez Jane Lubbock and Digna Martinez

Blockbuster movie The Golden Compass could bring up to one million more film buffs to Oxford, the city's tourism chief has claimed.

Jane Lubbock, facilities manager at Oxford City Council, said the movie adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel Northern Lights - released next week - will help generate at least an extra £15m for Oxford's economy.

She predicted visitor numbers to Oxford would break 10 million for the first time in 2008 as 'set-jetters' - people who visit film and TV locations - flock to the city to follow in the footsteps of the film's stars, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

Parts of The Golden Compass were shot in several Oxford locations, including Radcliffe Square, Christ Church and Exeter College, in June.

Previous movies shot in Oxford - including Harry Potter and The Italian Job - and TV programme Inspector Morse all boosted tourism.

Ms Lubbock said the city council would capitalise by staging a Golden Compass theme tour called Lyra's Oxford next year.

She added: "This film is great news for Oxford. It is a significant help to us breaking the 10 million figure.

"People planning their holidays next year will see the film and it will remind them that Oxford is a great place to come and see. Set-jetting is going to be a new form of tourism.

"We would expect it to generate an additional £15m based on visitor numbers."

In 2006, tourism generated more than £736m for Oxford's economy.

Ms Lubbock said floods had caused year-on-year visits to the Tourist Information Centre in Broad Street to fall by 3,000 in July, a drop of around six per cent.

But she said year-on-year figures for August had improved by 5,000, and that Oxford could expect around 9.5 million visits in 2007, compared with 8.8 million in 2006.

Michael Grange, general manager of The Randolph Hotel, in Beaumont Street, said: "You cannot buy all this advertising."

David Strainge, project manager for City Sightseeing Oxford, said: "All publicity is good publicity - and this is a lot of publicity."

Stephen Woodhouse, manager of the Malmaison, in New Road, said: "It will mean more people will want to come to Oxford."

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