New plans to attract millions more visitors to Staffordshire will see 220 businesses get expert advice and tourist attractions marketed throughout Britain.
£543,000 of European funding will be used to boost tourism in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire over the next two years and the region’s councils will double the amount with their investments.
Destination Staffordshire, a tourism body created in partnership with local councils and businesses, has signed up to a series of economy-boosting pledges to secure the cash.
These pledges include: increasing annual day-trippers visiting the region from 18.8 million, growing value of visitor economy from £1.4 billion to £1.9 billion by 2014, attracting an extra 100,000 people a year to stay overnight in the area and tapping into the lucrative business conference market.
County and city leaders hope to increase the current 30,000 jobs in the local tourism industry which includes staff working at theme parks, restaurants and hotels in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
The plans also include creating a team of ‘Staffordshire ambassadors’ who will be trained to share their expert knowledge with tourists visiting the area.
The money will also pay for a marketing campaign and seminars that will offer help for local businesses concerning how to gain more customers.
Cabinet member for culture and communities at Staffordshire County Council,Councillor, Pat Corfield, said: “This money will have a direct impact on tourism across the county and Stoke-on-Trent. It’s match-funded, and it will go a long way.
“People tend to forget just how many people are employed, directly or indirectly, because of the region’s tourism.
“It could be the petrol station people use to fill up on their way in and out, the little shop on the corner they visit while they’re out, right through to the major attractions like Alton Towers.
“We have everything from the V-Festival to the Peak District.”