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Move to boost £1.6bn tourist trade

Councils are set to join forces to boost tourism in Leicester and Leicestershire, which is currently worth £1.6 billion per year.

Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council are to finalise plans for a new place marketing organisation, which will promote all that the city and county has to offer to national and international visitors and investors.

This new approach comes after local stakeholders called for a greater strategic focus on tourism and place marketing, linking to wider economic development activity.

County council leader Councillor Nick Rushton: “We estimate there are more than 30,000 tourism-based jobs in the city and county and 25 million visitors per year, thanks to unique attractions such as the National Space Centre, King Richard III, Twycross Zoo and the Great Central Railway.

“Having a single organisation to market these attractions and opportunities for investors will create future jobs.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Tourism is a vital strand of our Economic Action Plan, generating more than £1.6 billion for Leicester and Leicestershire every year.

"By bringing together specialists in tourism, place marketing and inward investment in a single place marketing organisation, we will be able to co-ordinate our activity better – building on the county’s reputation as a visitor destination and attracting the investment and jobs the area needs for its long-term prosperity.”

A new organisation will be set up by the city and county councils to guide Leicester and Leicestershire’s tourism and place marketing strategy. Leicester Shire Promotions will continue to deliver tactical marketing campaigns including leisure breaks, events and conferences and support for town centres.

Chas Bishop, chairman of Leicester Shire Promotions, said: "The company is proud of its success in driving visitor numbers to the city and county over many years. It looks forward to life as an independent company that will continue to grow visitor numbers through its proven short breaks campaigns, business tourism activity and other key services that it is able to offer.”

The county council’s scrutiny commission will consider a report on the proposals at 2pm on Wednesday, 16 November, before the county council cabinet and city mayor take the final decision.

The cabinet meeting (November 23) and the scrutiny commission meeting will be webcast, live, at www.leicestershire.gov.uk/webcast