Regional tourism leaders call for people to visit West Midlands attractions in person or virtually

Regional tourism leaders have called on people to visit attractions in person or "virtually" to help them bounce back.

The Black Country Living Museum will remain closed until August 1
The Black Country Living Museum will remain closed until August 1

Chiefs from the West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism made the call with some businesses in the sector are still unable to reopen.

But they have urged people to not let this get in the way of visiting them – with virtual tours and other activities available.

It comes as the sector, which supports more than 135,000 jobs and is worth £12.6 billion in the region, looks to bounce back.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council and member of the West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism, said: "Our Black Country tourism organisations have adapted superbly to keep the public – here and internationally – entertained and educated.

"This is testament to the spirit and innovation of the hard-working people in our region. In the face of understandable adversity, they continue to make their mark and pull together to give visitors an opportunity to continue enjoying and experiencing our Black Country highlights.

"We encourage everybody to support the region’s fantastic tourism assets during this time – including Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Zoo and Castle – to ensure that they come back even stronger."

Black Country Living Museum – which will not reopen until August 1 – has offered up a series of education resources on its website, charting the history of the Black Country.

A spokesman for the museum added: "As ever, we are immensely grateful for the continued loyalty and ongoing support of our visitors, and we look forward to welcoming people again just as soon as we possibly can.

"Ahead of reopening, Unchained, our annual pass, can be purchased online."

People can visit Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which remains closed, through a tour on the website – as well as seeing the artwork through online galleries.

Interviews, question and answer activities are available, along with challenges to help test people's creative skills.

The New Art Gallery, based in Walsall, is another attraction which has remained closed amid the pandemic.

Councillor Garry Perry, portfolio holder for Communities, leisure and culture at Walsall Council said: "Since lockdown began our New Art Gallery has worked hard to create engaging online activities and virtual tours of its exhibits and events.

"Our free offers include digital and creative workshops for adults and a range of online activities for children. These are often inspired by a current exhibition or art work at the gallery.

"The programme has been tailored by artists and educators – and is very accessible. If the children want to take part - art materials like pencils, plasticine and cardboard can usually be found at home.

"For the grown-ups we have also have a series of Masterclass workshops which are hosted by artists and of course let’s not forget to take a virtual tour of our much loved Garman Ryan Collection."

The West Midlands attracted more than 131 million visits in 2018, according to data from the West Midlands Growth Company.

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