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Black Country tourism generates £825 million

Visitors to the Black Country helped generate over £825 million in revenue for the local economy in 2013, according to new figures released by Marketing Birmingham’s research arm the Regional Observatory and tourism research body, Global Tourism Solutions.

•  Visitor numbers to region hit 25.7 million
•  Black Country visitor economy now worth £825 million
•  Increased visitor numbers help create nearly 550 extra jobs

The STEAM report, produced annually to assess the economic impact of visitors to the UK’s major cities, also revealed that visitor numbers rose by nearly 500,000 to 25.7 million in 2013, helping to boost jobs in the region; employment supported by tourism rose to more than 11,650 FTEs (full time equivalent jobs), an increase of 5 per cent.

This reflects Black Country strengths with creative and music events in Wolverhampton City Centre, Dudley's Castle Hill attractions - Zoological Gardens & Castle - the Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Canal trust, and the area's hotels and meeting venues.

Cllr Darren Cooper, Chair of the Black Country Joint Committee and LEP Board Member, said, "This is fantastic news for the region. The additional visitors and employment growth to nearly 12,000 jobs demonstrates that our distinctive visitor economy and cultural sectors are increasingly important to the Black Country economy.”

Peter Suddock, Chief Executive Officer of Dudley Zoological Gardens (DZG), said, "Our visitor numbers have risen substantially year on year, a trend that has continued in the first seven months of this year, up 17 per cent on the same period in 2013.”

Mr Suddock, who is a member of the industry-led board of the newly-launched Tourism Council, added, "Tourism is vitally important to the West Midlands economy, bringing in one billion pounds per annum.

"DZG plays its part by thriving as a totally unique attraction and we link our increase in visitor numbers to continual across-site investment and development.”

The new figures come as VisitEngland, the national tourist board, reveals the latest results of its three-year project, ‘Growing Tourism Locally’, which, in its second year, has to date generated a total of £416 million additional tourism spend and created 7,744 additional jobs for the sector.

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