Coventry’s visitor economy has soared to a value of £495 million

Coventry’s visitor economy has soared to a value of £495 million and tourism in the city is recovering at a much quicker rate than the wider region, according to new research.

Major events including Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture have played a key role in the growth of the city’s visitor economy, with figures for 2021 showing an increase of £265 million on 2020 statistics.

This has been revealed in an economic impact report on tourism in the city, which was commissioned by its destination management organisation, Destination Coventry.

The report, which uses data from the 2021 calendar year, has been formulated by Global Tourism Solutions using its STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) model.

The model highlights how many visitors are attracted to a destination and how much they spend in the local economy. It uses local data including attractions footfall, car park usage, festival and event statistics, and hotel market data to formulate the report.

Figures indicate growth across all areas of the tourism sector in Coventry, including in the number of beds available at hotels and other accommodation in the city, as well as overall visitor numbers.

The city attracted 8.2 million visitors during the year and has developed a further 1,722 more beds across the city to accommodate visitors.

Visitor numbers peaked in July and August as the UK City of Culture year was in full swing and the city emerged from pandemic restrictions.

The figures also showed a quicker rate of recovery in Coventry in comparison to the wider West Midlands, with visitor numbers up 103 per cent in Coventry from 2020 to 2021, with figures for the West Midlands Combined Authority region showing a 72 per cent increase.

Coventry’s visitor economy also supported almost 5,400 jobs in 2021, up from around 2,700 the previous year.

The results also show overnight spend per head was £220.56 and day visitor spend was at £40.46, which were both record levels in 2021, while the percentage of overnight visitors remained steady at 11 per cent.

Destination Coventry, which includes brands Visit Coventry and Conference Coventry and Warwickshire, also launched in 2021 and commissioned the report, in partnership with West Midlands Growth Company.

Paul Jones, Managing Director of Destination Coventry, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the rate of recovery that the visitor economy has seen in Coventry and how that has accelerated ahead of some of our neighbouring regions.

“It is easy to forget that at the start of 2021 we were still in Covid-19 restrictions, as a matter of fact the first UK City of Culture event was held when restrictions were still in place.

“So, to have recovered to this extent is excellent and the figures featured in this latest economic impact report are certainly something the tourism sector in Coventry should be proud of.

“We’re expecting another strong set of results for 2022 as the city continues to reap the benefits of City of Culture and other major international events.”

Destination Coventry is a collaboration between Coventry City Council and Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Corin Crane, Chief Executive of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s been an incredible couple of years for the hospitality and tourism sector in Coventry and these figures prove that.

“In the few months I have been working in the city I am continually impressed with the strength and innovation of businesses we have in the sector. Events such as City of Culture have set the foundations for success here in Coventry and now it’s up to us to capitalise and keep that momentum going.”

Councillor Jim O’Boyle cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change said, “It’s great to see such positive figures for this really important sector – which is vital to job creation and the economic success of the city.

“Now we need to continue to build on this and attract even more people to enjoy a day or a  few days here.  We have the hotels, we have the attractions and we can certainly give a very warm Coventry welcome.”