2021-05/englandswaterways

Coordinated by VisitEngland, English Tourism Week is an annual celebration of the tourism industry, highlighting its importance to local economies. It promotes the innovation, quality and range of products and services on offer to encourage more domestic breaks.

Prior to Covid-19, domestic tourism in the West Midlands hit record levels, as it helped to drive growth and support jobs. The region welcomed 133.9 million visitors in 2019, an increase of 9% since 2016, contributing £13.1 billion to the region’s economy. In that same three-year period, jobs supported by the visitor economy rose by 10% to 137,458 – with one in every ten posts across the West Midlands linked to tourism.

Latest forecasts from the West Midlands Growth Company show that tourism spend in the region in 2021 is estimated to be £7.1 billion, just over half of the total from two years ago.

Fiona Allan, Chair of the West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism and Chief Executive of the Birmingham Hippodrome, said:

“Tourism has been one of the West Midlands’ success stories, delivering growth in each of our cities, boroughs and counties until its productivity was severely hit by the impact of Covid-19.

“As we begin to venture out to safely explore the region again, it is more important than ever to think locally to help our wonderful tourism venues and staff get back on their feet. English Tourism Week celebrates these wonderful places, which have created – and will continue to produce – memorable experiences for our residents, visitors and delegates.

“It has been an incredibly difficult period for our visitor economy businesses, but we hope people can take advantage of the variety and depth of our tourism offer as we begin to look ahead. Major international events such as the Coventry UK City of Culture and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games promise to transform our region, and offer us a unique platform to shine in the global spotlight.”

Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council and member of the West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism, said:

“English Tourism Week is a chance for us to pay tribute to the excellent West Midlands tourism and hospitality venues, which have worked so hard to be able to start safely welcoming visitors back again after a turbulent year.

“Whether it’s our world-class heritage attractions, cultural gems or miles of waterways, a thriving visitor economy sector has a positive impact on our residents, businesses and destinations.

“As we look ahead to a momentous period in the region’s history, thanks to major international events such as the 2022 Commonwealth Games, I urge everyone to continue to support the sector during this milestone week and throughout the summer to help get it back on its feet.”

As English Tourism Week continues, VisitEngland is encouraging people to share photos and social media posts to show support for the sector using #EnglishTourismWeek21.

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said:

“Our annual event to celebrate and champion English tourism has never been more important, providing a timely opportunity to show the outstanding offer here on our doorstep as we head into the critical summer season and to support local businesses and visitor attractions, who have lost months of vital trading, as they reopen and rebuild.

“By highlighting the quality and sheer diversity of tourism products, destinations and experiences across England we also hope people will consider an extra holiday at home this year, exploring somewhere new, revisiting a favourite attraction or taking a city break. With international tourists slower to return, this is also the year to rediscover the crown jewels of English tourism in our vibrant city centres.”

For more information about English Tourism Week, log on to visitbirmingham.com/things-to-see-and-do/english-tourism-week