A £1 billion tourism boost for the West Midlands will help create 19,000 new jobs in the region.

The planned growth was outlined today (Wednesday) in a new regional tourism strategy.

It highlights how work to support the sector can help to grow its economic value from £12.6 billion in 2018 to £13.7 billion over the next decade, a 9% increase.

This will be achieved by attracting more domestic and international visitors, generating an estimated rise in spend of £1.1 billion across the area.

The West Midlands attracted a record 131 million visitors last year, up by 2.6% on 2017. Visitor spend rose by 6.7% to reach £12.6 billion. Monthly average hotel occupancy rates reached 74.8%.

The regional tourism strategy is the first of its kind to be launched by a UK region since the government announced its tourism sector deal in July.

Showcasing events such as Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 to a wider audience are central to the tourism strategy.

The plan was developed by the West Midlands Growth Company, which aims to attract visitors, investment and events to the region, with local and national partners that represent the sector.

Chief executive Neil Rami said:“The new regional tourism strategy provides a comprehensive, detailed framework that will help us to realise this industry’s potential.

“With major cultural and sporting events on the horizon, this is the perfect time to capitalise on the opportunities they will bring, and help the West Midlands to make its mark globally.”

North America, Germany, China, and India are the key target markets.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland CEO Sally Balcombe said: “The West Midlands offers visitors a unique experience – from its diverse cultural offer and rich heritage, to the international conferences and events it hosts every year.

“Its new regional tourism strategy aligns with our ambition to develop the experiences our visitors can enjoy in the UK, and entice more people to come here.

“It is clear that organisations across the tourism sector in the West Midlands have really grasped the opportunity to work together, for the benefit of the whole region.”