Attractions industry news

20 Sep 2019

West Midlands unveils tourism strategy to grow visitor economy by £1bn

A new regional tourism strategy outlines plans to grow the West Midlands’ visitor economy by more than £1bn.

The West Midlands Regional Tourism Strategy, published on 18 September, sketches out a number of measures designed to grow the sector's economic value by 9 per cent – from £12.6bn in 2018 to £13.7bn – during the next decade.

Plans include attracting more domestic and international visitors and to create a further 19,000 jobs in the region.

Major events will also play their part in increasing visits, with the likes of Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 being harnessed to grow visitor numbers.

The strategy has been developed by the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) – which aims to attract visitors, investment and events to the region – with local and national partners that represent the sector.

It is the first of its kind to be launched by a UK region since the Government announced its Tourism Sector Deal in July 2019.

“The visitor economy is critically important to the wider success of the West Midlands," said Neil Rami, CEO of WMGC.

"Not only does this vibrant industry generate economic growth and new jobs, it also gives us a sense of place that we can be proud of, which other people want to experience or invest in.

“The new Regional Tourism Strategy provides a comprehensive, detailed framework that will help us to realise this industry’s potential. With major cultural and sporting events on the horizon, this is the perfect time to capitalise on the opportunities they will bring, and help the West Midlands to make its mark globally.”

The launch of the strategy follows a year (2018) in which the region attracted a record 131 million visitors, a 2.6 per cent increase on 2017. Visitor spend rose by 6.7 per cent to reach £12.6bn. Meanwhile, hotel monthly average occupancy rates reached an all-time high of 74.8 per cent.

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