Destination Coventry
Destination Coventry

Sky Blue Tavern hosts End of Summer networking event

Sport and its power to boost the visitor economy has been praised by tourism leaders in Coventry.

Leading figures from destination management organisation, Destination Coventry, highlighted the positive impact sport has had on the city’s visitor economy at an end-of-summer networking event.

The event, at Dhillon’s Brewery’s Sky Blue Tavern, welcomed around 75 business leaders from across the region to gain insight into the significant impact of sport events on the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector.

Paul Jones, Managing Director of Destination Coventry, was joined by Paul Michael, Managing Director of Coventry Building Society Arena and Chair of Destination Coventry, to discuss the boost sport has given the visitor economy in Coventry.

They highlighted how during the last football season, Coventry City fixtures brought 75,000 away supporters into the city, an average of 3,000 people per match, as part of an overall attendance of near 500,000 across the season.

Coventry Building Society Arena hosted the Commonwealth Games, which attracted 135,759 people, the Lionesses in the Arnold Clark Cup, which welcomed a further 32,109 people, and then tennis tournament, the Billie Jean King Cup, bringing an additional 4,000.

MotoFest Coventry, which took over the city centre for a weekend in June, attracted more than 200,000 people with an economic impact of £10.7 million.

Coventry Blaze, who play in the Elite Ice Hockey League, totalled 75,000 attendance for last season and brought 6,000 away fans into the city.

Paul Jones said: “We’re fast becoming known as a city that can deliver fantastic large-scale sporting events, and that has a hugely positive impact on the visitor economy in the city.

“This was reflected in our latest tourism economic impact report, where major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Rugby League World Cup put Coventry in the spotlight as a national and international visitor destination.

“A clear peak for our visitor economy in 2022 was in August, which was largely down to the Commonwealth Games. The city was buzzing during that period and all areas of the visitor economy felt the benefits.

“But it isn’t just traditional sport events, in the last year we’ve seen the University of Warwick host the UK Corporate Games, and Coventry hosting the British Transplant Games.

“Coupled with thriving professional sports clubs such as Coventry City, Coventry Rugby and Coventry Blaze, who all bring thousands of visitors into our city, and you can really start to see the incredible impact that sport has on our economy.”

Paul Jones speaking at the event

Paul Michael added: “Coventry City fixtures bring a huge number of visitors to the city, both home and away supporters, and the boost in season ticket sales this year will enhance that impact.

“Then you look at the Commonwealth Games, the Lionesses in the Arnold Clark Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup, and that is a lot of people coming into Coventry who may otherwise not have visited.

“Sport plays a major role in building the visitor economy as these are people coming into the city who may look to stay overnight in hotels and visit bars and restaurants.

“If we continue with our strategies of working collaboratively with local stakeholders, we can take full advantage of the benefits that sport brings.”

Destination Coventry, which launched in 2021, incorporates established brands Visit Coventry and Conference Coventry and Warwickshire.

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Paul Michael on stage at networking event
Paul Michael speaking at networking event