The new West Midlands Tourism & Hospitality Advisory Board will be set up in the autumn to drive forward the region’s visitor economy. Advising the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Mayor of the West Midlands, the Board will champion and provide a voice for the region’s visitor-facing sectors, incorporating hospitality and the night-time economy. It will replace and build on the work of the West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism, which was set up in 2020.
The secretariat for the Board will be provided by the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC), working with the night-time economy sector, and hospitality and tourism businesses. The new Board will provide a high-profile and recognisable presence for tourism and hospitality in the West Midlands as a sector consultee for regional and UK government proposals. It will create better links for all of the elements which contribute to the West Midlands’ visitor economy, and ensure that relevant nationwide initiatives are understood and leveraged for action in the region.
The Board will be chaired by Andrew Lovett, chief executive of the Black Country Living Museum, who has 30 years of leadership experience working across the museums, leisure, tourism, arts, heritage and protected landscape sectors.
Andrew Lovett said:
“We have launched the search for enthusiastic, knowledgeable and committed team players to join our new West Midlands Tourism & Hospitality Advisory Board, who can successfully represent the geography, diversity and inclusivity of our region’s magnificently varied and unique visitor economy.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for people who want to make a difference, are passionate about tourism and hospitality and are leaders in their visitor-facing fields, whether it’s accommodation, food and drink, transport, events, performance, entertainment or attractions.
“In 2022, the West Midlands has been in the global spotlight like never before. We want to build a new Board, which keeps the region in its rightful place at the forefront of the national and international visitor economy landscape.”
During the past 12 months, the West Midlands’ tourism and hospitality sectors have played host to the most popular UK-based Commonwealth Games, with more than 1.5 million tickets sold, five million people visiting Birmingham city centre over the Games fortnight and hotels enjoying record August occupancy of 87 per cent.
Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, between May 2021 and 2022, saw over one million people experience more than 700 events, with more than £172 million of direct investment secured to support the programme of events.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:
“Hospitality is a real strong suit for us here in the West Midlands. The sector has the potential to be a major growth area and job creator in our region in the coming months and years – despite the many pressures and challenges we’re facing.
“Introducing a West Midlands Tourism & Hospitality Advisory Board will help us to double down on our natural strengths, draw on our wealth of local expertise and work together to tackle the challenges facing the industry.
“The new Board will unite all elements of our visitor economy – building on the spectacularly successful Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. I encourage tourism and hospitality professionals to apply and get involved to help ensure we continue to grow this sector, create new job opportunities for local people and change lives for the better.”