Midlands Engine convenes Covid-19 response meeting on the visitor economy

Date posted: July 22, 2020
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Midlands Engine Chairman, Sir John Peace, has today convened one in a series of Covid-19 response meetings alongside MHCLG Secretary of State and Midlands Engine Champion, Robert Jenrick MP, and Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston MP. Bringing together cross-party MPs and regional leaders from across the Midlands, the series drives forward discussions on a collective response to the impact of Covid-19 on the Midlands economy.

Today’s meeting focused on the Midlands visitor economy. The visitor economy as a sector is worth £9.7bn to the Midlands Engine economy. It accounts for 30,000 firms and 400,000 jobs across the region (8.4% of all Midlands jobs) – from hotels and accommodation which attract visitors from across the globe, to sports venues, restaurants and pubs – and creative, arts and entertainment centres – it’s central to a thriving, cultural region and a high quality of life for the 11 million people who call the Midlands home.

Our region’s visitor economy is founded on our inspiring natural landscapes, such as the National Forest and the Peak District, on our vibrant cities, beautiful market towns and picturesque villages, and on our exceptionally fine stately homes and country houses. Many of the attractions are of international renown – Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon being just one example. And our region too is rich in its world-class theatres, sports centres of excellence and many exhibition venues.

Our region is excited and proud to host forthcoming significant events such as the Coventry City of Culture in 2021 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – and more besides. All of this underpins the Midlands as a highly attractive place to visit, live, learn, work and invest.

During the meeting expert voices from the visitor economy – including the National Exhibition Centre Group and the Royal Shakespeare Company – provided insight on how the visitor economy has been impacted by Covid-19, and what collective steps can be taken to help mitigate for that impact to enable this vital regional sector to recover and thrive.

Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, commented:

Tourism is a key part of the Midlands economy and will play an important role in the region’s economic recovery. There is so much to see in the region, which is one of the reasons that it is so popular with visitors from across the country.

The Government is backing the Midlands with our record £1.57 billion cash-injection into the arts, culture and heritage industries and our six-month VAT cut for accommodation and admission to attractions.

I will continue to champion the Midlands Engine as we work in partnership to support communities and businesses across the region to thrive as visitors return.

Following the meeting, Sir John Peace, said:

It is vital that we work together to ensure our visitor economy can thrive again. For those of us who call the Midlands home, we are rightly proud of all our region has to offer those who would choose to visit and live here: our inspiring heritage, richly diverse culture and incredible, determined people. Covid-19 does not change these facts. It only deepens our resolve to see this crisis through, to rebuild and to further unlock the potential of our region.

You can read more about the continued work of Midlands Engine partners during this pandemic in our latest monthly newsletter.

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