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Booming tourism business hits £850m

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Tourism is on the increase in Worcestershire and the Wyre Forest district is also enjoying an increase in the number of visitors to the area.

The industry has helped boost the county's economy by more than £850 million and created more than 17,000 jobs.

Now councillors are bidding to get an even greater slice of the tourism cake to help attract even more investment.

The move comes at a time when nearly 40 million overseas visitors are expected to have visited the UK during 2017 with 50 per cent of those planning to explore beyond London.

Forecasts suggest that overseas trips to the UK will increase six per cent to 39.7 million with spending up 14 per cent to £25.7 billion.

Record numbers of people are choosing to take their holidays in Britain according to Steve Ridgway, chairman of the British Tourist Authority.

The most recent statistics show that more than 16 million tourist trips are being made to Worcestershire every year.

Visitors to the Wyre Forest district, which boasts the world class attractions of the Severn Valley Railway and the West Midland Safari Park, also attracted more people.

Councillor Ken Pollock, cabinet member with responsibility for economy and infrastructure, said: "It's fantastic news that tourism to Worcestershire is booming.

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"We are a world class county and the more people who have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful rolling countryside and picturesque towns, the better.

"Feedback suggests visitors to Worcestershire have a great time, which is very pleasing.

"Greater tourism also brings huge benefits to Worcestershire's burgeoning economy, contributing millions and creating thousands of jobs.

"We hope that tourism to the county continues to grow and that we see many more visitors in years to come."

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Gary Woodman, chief executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Tourism is a key sector in Worcestershire.

"We have a rich variety of cultural assets and events to attract new and repeat visitors to the county.

"A number of local partners promote the county and raise the profile and we are developing new heritage storytelling trails and strong food experiences."

Surveys show that the majority of visitors, as much as 71 per cent, come to the county on a day trip with only two per cent from overseas.

Now Wyre Forest District Council and Worcestershire County Council are hoping to persuade people to travel from farther afield and stay longer in local areas.

Martyn Hammond, director of marketing and commercial services with Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “With the ever-changing landscape of tourism, including the continued strength of American companies such as Bookings.com and AirBnB, we have to continue to be innovative in how Visit Worcestershire encourages visitors.

“Funding to support promotional activities can be difficult to access if a cash match is required.

"We continue to maintain a close relationship with VisitEngland by hosting press visits, securing key speakers for local events and working together with other complimentary destinations to access national funding opportunities.”

Visit Worcestershire representative have been touring the county with visitors from New York, Kuoni and leading campaigns aimed at promoting Worcestershire to the US visitor market.

They have also been meeting regularly with inbound tour operators who put visitor packages together and lead the delivery of holidays for visitors from across the world, including Japan, Europe and America.

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