SHADOW Tourism Minister Tobias Ellwood has applauded the success of local partnerships in creating a sustainable and successful visitor economy in the Cheshire-Warrington sub region.
During a visit this week to the Virgin Trains Talent Academy in Crewe, the Bournemouth East MP praised destination management organisation Visit Chester & Cheshire for its leadership in developing an approach to team working that has generated major economic and social benefits for the area and its residents.
Mr Ellwood explained: “The visitor economy in the sub region continues to be a story of enterprise and achievement, thanks to the close cooperation between the local authorities, the strategic support of the Northwest Regional Development Agency, and the commitment to excellence of the private sector.
“Attractions, events and service providers are fully engaged in driving up standards and their efforts will undoubtedly generate more success in the future.”
The value of the visitor economy stands at about £1.8bn and employs more than 90,000 people in Cheshire and Warrington. Cheshire and Warrington receives an estimated 41 million tourists annually. Mr Ellwood, Shadow Minister for Department of Culture, Media and Sport, met with more than 20 senior representatives of a wide range of organisations to discuss plans and opportunities for generating further success for the local visitor economy.
Those attending, including Liverpool Airport, MMU Cheshire, Tatton Park, Bentley Motors, Warrington Wolves, South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, Cheshire East and Gulliver’s’ World.
Mr Ellwood heard that much of the emphasis in the coming months would be on identifying and developing new opportunities around Cheshire’s Gardens, local food and drink, Events and Festivals, Business Tourism and London 2012.
He was also updated on a range of major exciting capital development plans at Tatton Park, Chester Zoo and Jodrell Bank and the importance of future government support for these in the future.
Opportunities for Cheshire-Warrington relating to London 2012 and specifically the training camps that will be based at MMU Cheshire were also discussed.
Nick Brooks-Sykes, director of tourism at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) commented: “The event provided a valuable opportunity to outline the remarkable energy and innovation that has gone into creating a successful visitor economy in the region.
“However, there still remain a number of challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed if we are to deliver sustainable success into the future. Mr Ellwood’s visit provided a welcome opportunity to look forward.”
Visit Chester & Cheshire’s Chief Executive, Chris Brown added: “The untapped potential within our sector cannot be underestimated but it will take passion, effort and commitment from every level – locally, regionally and nationally – if we are to reap the benefits that lie within our grasp.”