Leading figures from the West Midlands have welcomed the news that the region is one of 12 new destinations to gain a special status aimed at boosting tourism.

An agreement between VisitEngland and West Midlands Growth Company will see a new Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) formed representing Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

The Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country LVEP aims to give destinations a voice at a national level, using its new status to shape national strategy and activities, and roll them out regionally.

The partnership with VisitEngland will give access to expert advice, as well as dedicated toolkits and training programmes, enabling the partnership to better support the region’s visitor facing businesses.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, said:

“The Commonwealth Games in 2022 showed the world just how much the West Midlands has to offer. Achieving LVEP status will help us to build that profile even further, and to steer the discussions and implement policies that will build sustainable growth for our visitor economy businesses.”

Andrew Lovett, Chair of the West Midlands Tourism and Hospitality Advisory Board, said:

“This is welcome news for the world class venues of Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country. Having a say in national policy, and how it is delivered locally, is crucial to ensuring brilliant visitor experiences.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“It is great news that a new Local Visitor Economy Partnership is being formed for the West Midlands which, working with VisitEngland, will develop and promote tourism in Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

“Hospitality is one of our region’s most important sectors, and we are home to a host of internationally recognised cultural assets, from top visitor attractions to important heritage sites.

“Supported by the West Midlands Growth Company, this new partnership will give us an important voice at national level, as well as access to the expertise and tools that can attract even more visitors to discover what we have to offer.”

Cllr Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Digital, Culture, Heritage and Tourism at Birmingham City Council, said:

"This is great news for the city as it means Birmingham will be well represented in the new national structure for tourism and benefit from working with VisitEngland.

"Local authorities are vital to the visitor economy, whether it is the upkeep of parks and public spaces, ensuring people can easily access the city through transport planning or supporting the night-time economy.

"Birmingham has a fantastic tourist and cultural offer and this type of partnership will offer great support to showcase all that is going on in the city and region."

Balvinder Heran, deputy chief executive of Dudley Council, said:

“Dudley has a wealth of world class visitor attractions, from the historic Red House Glass Cone to the breath-taking national and local nature reserves and, of course, several sites which are part of the world-famous Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark.

“We are delighted to be part of this partnership, which will provide a further platform to promote all Dudley has to offer.”

Alice Davey, Director of Borough Economy at Sandwell Council, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the Local Visitor Economy Partnership to encourage more people to visit Sandwell’s well-known sites such as Sandwell Valley and the Sandwell Aquatics Centre as well as some hidden gems thereby boosting the local economy and potentially creating new jobs.”