The figurehead of Warwickshire’s tourism industry has urged business leaders to support the sector by tackling issues head-on.
Helen Peters, CEO of Shakespeare’s England, the Destination Management Organisation for South Warwickshire discussed the emerging trends in the tourism industry ahead of Brexit, and the importance of backing a Sector deal for Tourism as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, to tackle potential issues.
The tourism industry is the fourth largest service export industry in the UK and historically has not been given the recognition granted to other smaller industries.
In granting a Sector Deal for Tourism, as part of its Industrial Strategy, the government would be recognising the importance of this export industry, which is already worth £127bn to the UK economy and responsible for three million jobs.
Ahead of the announcement of the 2018 tourism figures for the area, she highlighted the importance of businesses supporting the deal at the Coventry and Warwickshire Champions event to a group of around 200 leading business figures in the region at Dallas Burston Polo Club.
“Shakespeare’s England works to promote South Warwickshire internationally as a global destination, and while the tourism turnover in Coventry and Warwickshire is worth £1.03billion, it’s difficult to predict how Brexit will influence our current visitor figures,” said Helen, who has been appointed a member of the CWLEP Board.
“There’s also a big challenge in changing some of the current trends. More money is still being spent overseas by British tourists than inbound tourists to the UK and with staycations down by 1.4million for the 16 to 24 age group compared with figures from 10 years ago, we need to confront these statistics head-on in our region.
“To combat this, we are backing the Tourism Sector Deal which aims to boost productivity by making it less seasonal and enhance the night time visitor economy. Business Tourism is of particular importance as it tends to deliver visitors in the off or shoulder seasons and the creation of Tourism Zones under the sector deal will ensure successful tourism areas are able to support others that need more intervention.
“As with all sector deals productivity is at the centre as a one per cent increase in productivity could see a £12bn increase in the value of tourism to the UK by 2025, along with an additional 70,000 jobs.
“Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire need to support the deal so that as a region we can ensure these tourism patterns are a priority ahead of Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Commonwealth Games 2022.”
The Champions meeting also heard from three other speakers based in the region.
At the forefront of the compression industry, which is worth £84 billion in the UK, is the Napton-based company Lontra, and members of Champions were able to hear from the company’s CEO Steve Lindsey.
He outlined the unseen importance of the industry in everyday life, with compressors being used for making bread through to sewage and water treatment.
Mark Truman, the CEO of industry-leading electric motorcycle company Arc Vehicle, introduced delegates to the futuristic creations of the Coventry-based company which can go from nought to 60 in three seconds, after the bikes were launched at the Milan Motorcycle show last year.
Major Richard Carney, Operations Director at Dallas Burston Polo Club, opened the meeting and outlined the packed schedule of events the venue has ahead of their summer polo season, which will also see the new £12million onsite hotel opening.
Les Ratcliffe, Chair of the CW Place Board added: “Our latest Champions event was able to bring together the top business leaders from the region to promote Coventry and Warwickshire as a great place to do business and give crucial updates to these businesses on different sectors.
“As Champions goes from strength-to-strength we are adding an additional Next Generation event to our schedule on Thursday, June 20 to promote our young Champions with business leaders all under the age of 30 who are based in Coventry and Warwickshire.”