Coventry named as top holiday destination
Wish you were here - tourist numbers soar as Coventry becomes a tourist hot spot
There’s no beach, no pier and your chances of buying a ‘kiss me quick’ hat are slim – but more and more people are packing their bags and heading to Coventry for a holiday.
New figures show the home of Lady Godiva is attracting thousands of extra visitors who want to get away from it all by taking a break here.
In fact, Coventry is the fastest-growing holiday destination in the West Midlands.
Numbers from Visit England, the English tourism board, show the number of people visiting Coventry as a holiday destination has risen by 37.2 per cent from 113,000 a year between 2006-08 to 155,000 between 2011-13.
In Warwickshire, only Stratford – the birthplace of Shakespeare – attracted more visitors than Coventry, up from 260,000 to 289,000 but the percentage increase was roughly just a third of Coventry’s at 11.2 per cent.
Visit England’s figures only count visits specifically for holiday purposes and excluded trips like business conferences.
Coun Abdul Khan, Coventry City Council cabinet member for tourism, said: “These figures are very encouraging.
“We know Coventry has so much to offer and we are working hard to make sure visitors have such a good time when they’re here that they want to come back and bring friends.”
The Visit England figures only include destinations which attracted more than 100,000 holiday visits a year, meaning Warwick was the only other place in Warwickshire listed.
The town’s visitor figures rose by 11.3 per cent from 124,000 to 138,000.
Elsewhere in the West Midlands, Birmingham was Coventry’s biggest challenger having seen an increase of 25.5 percent from 475,000 holiday-seekers to 595,000.
Leicester, Wolverhampton and Northampton didn’t receive enough visitors to make the list, but Nottingham performed strongly with a 52.2 per cent increase from 276,000 visitors to 420,000.
Angela Tellyn, partnership manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is great news for Coventry and, indeed, the whole of Warwickshire.
“The profile of the city was certainly raised on a national and international stage during the Olympics and could have helped attract new visitors.
“Coventry and Warwickshire, as we always say, has a great deal going for it to attract visitors – including the Cathedral, Warwick Castle and the heritage around Shakespeare – and it appears that the world is seeing that in increasing numbers.”
Coventry is gearing up for one of the biggest years in its history after being named UK City of Culture 2021.
The city beat off strong competition from Paisley, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea to win the prestigious national title and was named the winner live on BBC TV on Thursday night.
Work will start straight away to deliver the plans for an incredible 12 months that were set out in the city’s bid to the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport. The economic impact will be huge for the city and the West Midlands.
Coventry’s programme will include a Streets of Culture programme co-producing work in local communities. The first build-up event will be the UK’s first Shop Front Theatre Festival in March 2018 and the city will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its Cathedral with a major new lighting commission.A 2.2 mile Ring Road poem is set to one of the digital centrepiece of 2021 along with major productions by the RSC and the screening of the entire works of Shakespeare in iconic locations.
This award has put Coventry back on the map.Coventry is a vibrant, multicultural city with a fascinating and inspiring story to tell and an arts and cultural scene that deserves its place in the national spotlight.
RosKerslake, HLF Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:
“Congratulations Coventry!From The International Transport Museum toThe Herbert Art Gallery, HLF has invested over £36m into the city’s heritage so we know just how special it is and its importance to its identity, economy and communities.
“Whether a famous landmark or an untold family story, the eyes of the UK and beyond are turning to Coventry and we’re delighted that National Lottery funding will be shining a spotlight on its unique culture and heritage.”