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Solihull Tourism Action Plan (2007- 08) West Midlands Context The Department for Culture, Media and Sport devolved strategic responsibility for regional tourism development and marketing to the Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands in 2003, which led to the development of the West Midlands Visitor Economy Strategy and the Tourism West Midlands Partnership Board, the strategic lead in the region for tourism. The West Midlands Visitor Economy Strategy (WMVES), which is due for review in 2010, identifies that the region is under-performing in tourism compared to other regions. The Strategy has a key focus on ‘destination development’ made up of attractions, services and infrastructure, all incorporated into a strong brand. It identifies the role tourism has in regeneration, acting as a multiplier for investment. The Strategy identifies that in 2001, Coventry and Solihull accounted for 7% of total visits to the region (9% of total visitor spend), 6.5% of day visits (7% of spend) and 12% of staying visits (12% of spend). A key strategy recommendation was the creation of strong sub-regional public-private Destination Management Partnerships to identify sub-regional priorities for destination development, co-ordinating delivery, investment and marketing. Business tourism is identified as a priority theme for the strategy – given the importance of the region’s national and international profile and existing strengths 1 in business tourism. A recent KPMG report has identified that an estimated 208,000 conferences and 392 exhibitions were held in the Region during 2005, attracting nearly 14 million delegates and having a value to the economy of £3 billion. This industry supports a wide supply chain of industries and the multiplier effect to the economy amounts to around £6.3 billion, supporting 100,000 jobs. 2 Regarding the tourism sector as a whole, a survey of the regional hotel industry highlights 42% of the ‘serviced accommodation’ sector noticed an increase in the number of customers in Quarter 3 2006, compared to 2005. Issues raised as factors that affect their business include local events generating trade, local investment (both private business expansion and general economic development) and more competition threatening volumes of business. The draft West Midlands Economic Strategy (WMES) prioritizes the exploitation of markets and sectors with the most wealth and employment potential. It also prioritizes maximizing the region’s cultural offer and natural assets as key to attracting more highly skilled workers and business investment to the region. Priority actions are to support the enhancement of existing assets, to attract and maximize the regional benefits of high profile international and national events (e.g. 2012 Olympics) and to link dispersed attractions and assets more effectively to enable their sustainable exploitation as tourism resources. The Birmingham, Coventry, Black Country City Region (which includes Solihull) is developing a ‘Quality of Life’ Joint Investment Plan (JIP) focused on the development of a co-ordinated cultural, leisure and sporting strategy for the City Region. The central priority will be to improve the attractiveness of the City Region area as a place to live, work and relax for both existing and potential residents. Culture and leisure are identified as key generators of a strong positive internal and external image that can influence location and investment decisions. Tourism is also a key theme within the West Midland plans to capture the benefits for the London 2012 Olympic Games, led by Tourism West Midlands and feeding into regional plans as defined by the West Midlands Leadership Group for the 2012 Games. Priorities include maximize visitor numbers, stay and spend in the region in the run up to, during and after the Games and to ensure continued investment in quality, skills and productivity. 1 Economic Impact of Business Tourism in the West Midlands – October 2006, KPMG 2 Industry Performance Monitor – July to September 2006, Heart of England Tourism Tourism in Solihull 3 The number of workplaces in the ‘Tourism & Leisure’ sector in Solihull has increased by 5% to 512 and the number of employees by 12% to 9077 (2003-2005), exceeding regional trends and identifying it as a key growth sector for Solihull. This accounts for 9% of total employment within the Solihull Borough (2005). - Visitor Expenditure – worth £662m in 2006, a 4% increase from 2005, with the ‘Accommodation’ sector the fastest growing - Visitor Numbers – 7.5m (2006), 4% increase from 2005, with ‘Day Visitors’ making up 87% of the total 4 - Employment Supported – 9883 (2006), 3% increase from 2005 Business Tourism in Solihull 5 Solihull is a natural location for Business Tourism, as identified during a recent study - as the location for the National Exhibition Centre and Birmingham International Airport in the Borough and at the heart of the motorway network. Research was conducted into the Solihull hotel sector during 06/07, to capture local trends within the sector, the impact on the economy and identify areas for future support. Key findings include recognition of the significance of business tourism to local hotel success and vulnerability of any changes to the sector, such as the decline in trade shows hosted by the NEC and resulting lack of overnight guests. Little or no impact was felt from the proximity to BIA. Many now rely on corporate accounts as a growing source of business, as a more profitable source of income. Conference facility provision is also a growth area, with most hotels planning to upgrade facilities to keep ahead of the rising competition in the market. All recognised the benefits Solihull can offer as a business location, but most felt it needs greater promotion to the international market if it is to stand out from Birmingham and competition from other areas of the country. 3 Solihull Annual Business Inquiry Data 2003-2005 4 STEAM Tourism Economic Impact Model, 2006 5 Solihull Business Tourism Survey 2006 Action Plan Vision: To encourage sustainability and growth within the tourism industry of Solihull, facilitating cross sector opportunities, promotion and diversification Strategic Wider/ Actions Outputs Lead & Partners Time- Costs/ Objectives Regional Priorities scale Funding Require- ments Ensure WMVES Instigation of a Commission an investigation to form a Production of Solihull Business Investment By Feb 08 AWM sustainability & programme of market/product commercial forward plan for Solihull Tourism, Tourism Commercial Plan. & appointed growth within focused research , to fill key including identifying key opportunities, links to Consultancy the tourism gaps in current regional sub-regional Destination Management sector tourism intelligence Partnerships and potential funding sources and to position Solihull to respond and strengthen the Regional Tourism offer. WMVES Connect Town Centre Form a Tourism Working Group to establish Quarterly Tourism Solihull Town Centre By Mar 08 AWM/DMPs Management functions with links between Solihull town/retail centres Working Group meetings Partnership, the visitor economy and sub (Solihull, Shirley, Chelmsley Wood), visitor established Town Centre regional DMPs gateways (National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Managers, NEC, BIA, BIA) and sub-regional partners – to facilitate Coventry & the infrastructure for Solihull to input into Warwickshire/ B’ham Regional tourism plans. Destination Management Partnerships (DMPs), AWM, Private Sector Draft WMES Providing Make referrals to relevant support groups in Increased number of Business Link Ongoing Partner businesses with access to high highlighted areas of need from Business businesses supported by (Regional Centre for Organisations quality, market-facing business Investment Liaison programme (e.g. relevant agencies and Tourism Business support services accessibility, legislation) and participation in participation in grading Support) Regional ‘Quality at Heart’ campaign schemes Draft WMES Raise employer Form a Skills theme group within the Working Increased number of Business Link, LSC, Ongoing Partner awareness of business case Group to identify common issues and link to businesses supported by Private Sector Organisations for training workforce and appropriate support schemes/providers relevant agencies and stimulate employer including Train to Gain. participation in Train to engagement in training & skills Gain WMVES Create opportunities to upskill and enhance quality of service Draft WMES Improve Lobby for investment and greater accessibility Solihull involvement in Transport & Ongoing accessibility, business to area through key gateways (BIA, New regional transport Highways, BIA, competitiveness and visitor Street Station) through sector engagement planning/policy making Private Sector perceptions through transport and regular communication of transport gateways issues/plans, via Business Investment Liaison Regular e-bulletin programme and e-communications to communications detailing encourage sector response appropriate information WMVES Target 9% growth in Promote employment of a local workforce Increase in the Employability, Access Ongoing tourism employment between through Business Investment Liaison percentage of local to Employment 2002-10 programme, referred through to tailored workforce identified during Group, Private Sector recruitment packages and job specific training annual tourism survey packages ran by the Employability Team Promote WMVES Interlock tourism with Incorporate key tourism messages into Solihull Produce marketing Business Investment By Feb 08 national & planning and inward Business Investment Place Marketing and PR materials and Press international investment Campaign through sub brand ‘Lifestyled for Releases highlighting awareness of Success’ to raise awareness of the Solihull ‘Lifestyled for Success’ Solihull as a JIP Ensure Economic tourism and conferencing offer and link to tourism and Development and Investment related Creative Industry sector targeting business acts as a driver to increase Secure a tourism destination and levels of competitiveness, Encourage participation in the Solihull representative on engagement in productivity, enterprise and Ambassador scheme, using key tourism and Ambassadors programme Regional and prosperity in the City Region.. business representatives to promote Solihull sub-regional as a place to live, work and visit campaigns Ensure at least 5 tourism Supply printed place marketing materials outlets for material (Brochure, Economic Newsletter) to tourist distribution outlets for distribution to business community WMVES Clarify marketing Use Tourism Working Group to develop joint Produce joint marketing Solihull Town Centre By Mar 08 AWM/DMPs messages and importance of Town Centre and Visitor Destination marketing plan and secure funding Partnership, quality and pride of place. and promotion opportunities as a place to live, for activities Town Centre Marketing best done at sub- work and visit Managers, NEC, BIA, regional level using strong Coventry & destination ‘sub brands’ Ensure consistent with and feed back into Warwickshire/ B’ham messaging for Regional and sub-regional Destination Tourism marketing strategies Management Partnerships (DMPs), AWM, Private Sector WMVES Prioritise events to Ensure Solihull representation (including the Attendance of WM NEC, Marketing Ongoing AWM/DMPs showcase identified business NEC) in drives to raise the profile of the Business Tourism Theme B’ham, WM Business clusters Regional and local conferencing facilities to Group meetings and Tourism Theme attract events and showcase local key Solihull representation in Group Draft WMES Promote and business sectors conference materials develop major business tourism destinations and Ensure Theme Group representation on the Produce joint promotion events that advantage the WM Business Tourism Theme Group, provide plans with Marketing Region local materials for use in overseas marketing B’ham and WM Business drives (at IMEX, Confex etc) and involvement Tourism Theme Group JIP Develop sporting facilities in benchmarking research undertaken and events on a collaborative Monitor progress of local and connected basis Ensure Theme Group representation on conferencing through B’ham’s Conference Ambassador Programme sector surveys JIP Capitalise on the impact of Ensure tourism interests are represented in A number of tourism SMBC 2012 Steering Ongoing the 2012 Olympics…and a the SMBC 2012 Steering Group Plans and initiatives included in the Group (Community post Olympiad enthusiasm for wider WM 2012 Plans, to maximise the SMBC 2012 Action Plan Services) sport and physical activity benefits of increased visitor traffic, pre Games WM Advisory and training camp occupancy and raised media A number of tourism Leadership Group, awareness of the Region during the Games promotion activities DMPs, Private Sector included in the 2012 Develop a communications plan to maximise Communications Plan promotion of key assets (BIA, NEC) to capture tourism benefits for the Region WMVES Strengthen Ensure rural representation in Solihull tourism Establish regular Coventry, Solihull & Ongoing connections between the rural plans to promote cross working and communication with the Warwickshire Rural and urban offer diversification opportunities Rural Forum and rural Forum representation on the Ensure rural representation in the Tourism Working Group Working Group (detailed above) Produce a tourism/rural Ensure tourism engagement with the events calendar and Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Rural Forum secure funding Investigate funding opportunities for and establish/promote a joint tourism and rural events calendar Encourage JIP Creation of common Establish linkages with cultural organisations Produce a joint cultural Community Services Ongoing ? Tourism’s cultural and tourism priorities (arts, libraries, museums and associations) and tourism programme of City Region Cultural contribution to and objectives and programmes within Solihull to develop and events Partnership, MLA, generate wider promote combined cultural and tourism Arts Council benefits for WMVES Co-ordination of events/packages Produce a regular cultural Solihull and regional festivals and events bulletin to tourism wider Region incorporating cultural, sports Investigate funding opportunities and businesses and faith events programmes as part of the City Region Quality of Life Joint Investment Plan Ensure Solihull tourism representation on the City Region Cultural Partnership JIP Raise profile if City Promote linkages between tourism and sport Regular communication of Coventry & Ongoing ? Region’s cultural and sporting through staging of events and conferencing activities identified in Warwickshire/B’ham offer and lobby for stronger resulting from the 2012 Games ‘Welcome Legacy’ paper Olympic Task Forces, cultural and sporting facilities to businesses NEC, to compete with the best in Identify opportunities from the DCMS 2012 SMBC Steering Europe ‘Welcome Legacy’ paper and ensuring Tourism initiatives Group (Community dedicated Tourism activities in the SMBC 2012 included in SMBC 2012 Services), Tourism Action Plan Action Plan West Midlands Ensure Solihull involvement in B’ham 2012 Task Force plans to attract major sport events, enhance sporting facilities and attract Regional media attention. Maximise the JIP Develop ‘food tourism’ Encourage local supply chain development Establish and run a Community Services, By Jun 08 AWM? economic aspect through establishment of a sector networking/ Solihull networking event Tourism West benefits of ‘Meet The Buyer’ events (food & drink and attended by a range of Midlands Solihull’s WMVES Facilitation of local related industries) and participation in local tourism sub-sector tourism business clusters and food groups and awards (E.g. Heart of businesses economy collaborative networks to share England Fine Foods) best practice WMVES WM Regional Encourage participation in Corporate Social Increase number of ‘Footprint’ Steering By Mar 08 Sustainable Development Responsibility and local community tourism businesses signed Group Framework – encourage the involvement through the SMBC ‘Footprint’ up to ‘Footprint’ development of ‘sustainable programme programme tourism’ Ensure Respond to policy consultation at local, N/A Business Investment Ongoing Solihull’s regional and national levels, including that Tourism associated with Planning, 2012 Olympics and agenda is transport issues represented within policy
"Solihull Tourism Action Plan _2007- 08_"