An ambitious five-year plan that sets out how Leicester and Leicestershire will be positioned as a leading destination for leisure and business tourism has been launched at the Leicester Business Festival.
The new Leicester & Leicestershire Tourism Growth Plan will provide a framework for the city and county’s efforts to attract an increasing number of both leisure and business visitors to the area – while encouraging those visitors to stay longer and spend more.
Latest figures show that tourism in the area is booming, contributing more than £1.8billion to Leicester and Leicestershire’s economy in the last year alone – but with growth rates for the area higher than the national average, the city and county councils expect the value of tourism to rise to more than £2billion by 2025.
Leading hotel groups have already shown their confidence in Leicester by planning to build 850 new bedrooms in the city over the next five years – and now the new tourism growth plan sets out strategies for further raising Leicester and Leicestershire’s profile, capitalising on the valuable business tourism market and championing new products and ideas that will enhance the area’s appeal to visitors.
Many other businesses and attractions also have exciting plans in the pipeline. Twycross Zoo has plans for a £55m scheme that will create a National Science & Conservation Centre, while the Great Central Railway has ambitions to create a continuous 18-mile heritage railway line and new visitor attraction at its North Terminus.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “A few years ago, no one would have dreamt that Leicester could become a major visitor destination, but we have continued to build on the momentum generated by the King Richard III story and, as a result, visitor numbers are increasing year on year.
“We know that we have a lot to offer visitors, with our historic city and its attractions complemented by Leicestershire’s attractive market towns and popular visitor destinations, such as Foxton Locks and Bradgate Park. But we need to make sure that we continue to offer people the high-quality experience that they want.
“This new joint plan reflects a fresh approach that ignores the administrative boundaries that traditionally divided the city and the county. Instead, we’re working together to encourage visitors to discover the very best of Leicester and Leicestershire – and to support the local businesses who provide the very best experience to both business and leisure visitors.”
The Leicester and Leicestershire Tourism Growth Plan was launched to an audience of local tourism businesses, who were also amongst the first to get a preview of a new campaign that will help raise the profile of the area as a visitor destination.
The campaign – called Uncover the Story – will use storytelling techniques to build brand awareness through a collection of authentic stories, such as the defeat of King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, and Lady Jane Grey’s connections with Bradgate Park.
Leicester’s tourism action plan is available to download at www.leicester.gov.uk