The night-time economy is worth around £66bn to the UK economy, accounting for nearly a third of the town and city centre turnover, according to new research by VisitEngland, together with the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM). The organisations reveal in their new publication ‘The Evening & Night Time Economy’ that out of 1.5 billion day visits, nearly 300 million were either mainly for a meal out or going on a night out, representing 21% of the £52bn spent in the UK on day visits. Not surprisingly a range of shopping and good quality food, drink and dining were very important to the satisfaction of visitors to towns and cities in this country. VisitEngland has launched Purple Flag Week (24-30 September) to make sure that the tourism industry makes the most of the night-time economy and grow tourism in towns and cities during this weeks It is a new annual UK-wide campaign to promote town and city centres at night through ATCM’s accredited Purple Flag centres. The event intends to “capture resident, visitor and businesses’ imaginations, and encourage people to do something different with their evenings”. The aim of the scheme is to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of towns and city centres at night, providing recognition for businesses and organisations which inspire visitors to enjoy towns and cities specifically between the hours of 6pm – 6am by the development and promotion of excellent late night shopping, dining, drinking, and cultural experiences. Liverpool launched Light Night in 2011, attracting 17,500 visitors with an economic impact of £250k. Through a trial of extended opening hours, promotions, festivals and arts and culture activities, Newcastle Gateshead increased revenue by £53m over a six-month period. James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive said: “Now is the time to seize the opportunity given to us by hosting one of the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games ever. This summer has whetted the country’s appetite to enjoy a vast array of sporting and cultural events supported by later opening hours by shops, bars and restaurants. The night time economy offers us a huge opportunity to grow tourism in England and make our cities and towns some of the most exciting in the world.”