Destination Coventry
Destination Coventry

VisitEngland Advisory Board visits Coventry

A delegation of senior national and regional tourism leaders has visited Coventry and received an update on the progress of a major new tourism partnership in the region.

The VisitEngland Advisory Board (VEAB) held its March meeting at St Mary’s Guildhall in the city centre.

Coventry and Warwickshire Local Visitor Economy Partnership was formed under the new LVEP framework, which is developed and administered by VisitEngland.

It brings together the destination management organisation (DMO) for Coventry, Destination Coventry, and the DMO for south Warwickshire, Shakespeare’s England, who will be working together with local authority stakeholders to ensure that the region’s tourism community has a powerful voice at national level.

Destination Coventry oversight board chair Paul Michael and Shakespeare’s England Chair Tara Robinson were among a regional delegation to welcome the VEAB to Coventry and Warwickshire.

Paul Michael said: “This marked an important milestone in the continued development of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Visitor Economy Partnership and opportunity to update the industry’s national body on our progress.

“It was great to welcome VisitEngland to Coventry and to discuss how the visitor economy in the city has recovered and reached a record value of £750.86 million.

“It’s important we work in partnership as a region to continue on that growth trajectory and the LVEP is a vehicle which will support us to do that.”

Tara Robinson added: “It’s been fantastic to welcome Visit England to our region at a time when south Warwickshire is continuing to go from strength-to-strength, and preparations for the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Visitor Economy Partnership gather pace.

“Latest research shows that around 9.9 million day and overnight trips were made to south Warwickshire in 2022, and overnight visitors spent around one per cent more in 2022 than they did in 2019 before the pandemic – so it was great to be able to underline what a key role this region has to play in the country’s wider tourism offering.

“This ongoing growth provides a solid foundation to build on for this partnership, which can act as a catalyst to help Coventry and Warwickshire attract even more domestic and overseas visitors in the future.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said: “I was delighted to welcome the Visit England team to Coventry.  They arrived at Coventry station, which has recently benefited from major investment and then had the chance to take in some of the city centre before arriving at St Mary’s Guildhall – one of the finest Guildhalls in the land and real jewel in our cultural crown.

“Coventry is a great visitor destination with plenty for people to see and do and even on the short walk there was ample opportunity to see how we have combined the best of the old with the best of the new.  Of course, as long as we keep evolving there will always be something new to see on a visit here.”

St Mary’s Guildhall is in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter and an award-winning heritage visitor attraction.

It opened 18 months ago and is attracting new visitors and travel trade to the region following a £6 million restoration project funded from the Cultural Capital Investment Fund, Coventry City Council, Arts Council England, the Getting Building Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery Players.

Abi Moore, Heritage and Venue Manager at St Mary’s Guildhall, which is operated by No Ordinary Hospitality, said: “It’s been a privilege to welcome delegates from VisitEngland and colleagues from across the region to St Mary’s Guildhall.

“The guildhall has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, including revealing to the public a medieval kitchen which has been hidden for almost 100 years. We’ve also worked to bring the guildhall to life with the introduction of new interpretation such as virtual reality tablet tours.

“We are really proud to have the chance to showcase those changes as part of this visit and highlight how far we have come as a heritage destination in just over 18 months”.