OTLEY has become the first town in the UK to receive a perfect recommendation score, a result that highlights the powerful appeal of the historic market town to residents and visitors of all ages.

The town recorded the 100 per cent score in a recent independent survey in which people were asked: “would you recommend a visit to Otley to your family and friends?”. Of the 651 people who took part in the face-to-face interviews, all of them said they would recommend a visit.

The survey was conducted over select dates in 2022 and in different locations across the town by People & Places Insight, a research company with more than 10 years’ experience in benchmarking small and medium towns across the country. In that decade-long history, the company has undertaken surveys across more than 350 similar size locations, and Otley is the first in its history to record the perfect 100 per cent score.

Other survey results highlighted Otley’s broad-based appeal to both young and old. The survey highlighted two main demographics that visit the town: a more mature audience during the week with young urban professionals, many with families, more likely to visit over the course of the weekend. The 100 per cent recommendation rate held not only across both groups in the main survey, but also across a further 96 people interviewed separately during the annual Victorian Fayre which takes place every December and which attracts more than 30,000 people to the town.

Those surveyed highlighted many of the fine reasons to visit Otley, including convenience shopping at the town’s independent shops (26 per cent), sightseeing (19 per cent), meeting friends and family (13 per cent) markets (12 per cent) and walking/cycling (six per cent), while the town centre, Otley Chevin Forest and the riverside/Wharfemeadows Park were the three locations most visited by those surveyed.

Survey respondents included a balance of residents and visitors, with 52 per cent of those questioned living in the town itself, 38 per cent living within a 30-minute drive and 10 per cent visiting the town for tourism purposes – figures that highlight the town’s emerging reputation as a destination for visitors from further afield.

The benchmarking survey was commissioned for the third year running by Otley’s Town Coordination Group which is made up of stakeholders including Otley Town Council, Otley BID, Otley Chamber of Trade, Otley Town Partnership and Leeds City Councillors.

Chair of Otley Town Council’s Trade and Tourism Committee Paul Carter said: “This is an incredible result for Otley and testament to the town’s emergence as a destination that is popular with both residents and visitors and across all demographics, young and old. We look forward to continuing to build on the results of the wider accompanying survey and further improving Otley’s reputation as a place to live and a place to do business. ”

Chair of Otley BID Katie Burnett said: “We’ve long been proud of Otley’s growing reputation as a town that appeals to a wide demographic of people but to receive a perfect recommendation score is an incredible result and testament to the hard work of businesses and residents who pull together to highlight all that is good in Otley.”

Mike King of People & Places Insight said: “In more than a decade of surveying small towns, we have never seen a result like Otley’s perfect recommendation score. We have now been working on benchmarking Otley for three years and have seen the hard work stakeholders, businesses, community groups and residents put into making Otley as good as it can be. It’s pleasing to see that hard work paying off with the results of our survey.”