West Midlands selected as second pilot region for DDP


The West Midlands has been selected as the second pilot region for the new Destination Development Partnership (DDP) model, designed to drive economic growth through the visitor economy across its local authorities.

The new West Midlands DDP – made up of the Birmingham, Solihull & Black Country Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) and Coventry & Warwickshire LVEP – will be a blueprint for the rest of England, delivering economy growth through the visitor economy across its local authorities. The West Midlands DDP will focus on objectives such as tourism sector skills, sustainability and accessibility, levelling up, inward investment, business and major events, product development and data collection and analysis.

The West Midlands welcomed a record 141.2 million visitors in 2022, with tourist spend rising to a record £14.1 billion. The aim of the new partnership is to further cement the region as a must-visit destination, whilst also attracting private investment and driving growth.

Cllr Stephen Simkins, the WMCA’s Portfolio Lead for Economy & Innovation and Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council said, “The new Destination Development Partnership status awarded to the West Midlands by VisitEngland offers a valuable opportunity to further raise our profile across national and international markets.

“This is a proud moment for the West Midlands, as only the second region in the country to pilot this newly restructured approach to the tourism sector in England. It will allow us to develop our thriving visitor economy to develop and market the region and attract investment, create jobs and grow our existing, successful tourism businesses.”

It has also been announced that Victoria Square House in Birmingham will be the new hub for national tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEngland from April.

The venue is located in the civic heart of Birmingham, close to New Street station, Bullring & Grand Central shopping centre, Birmingham Town Hall and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland picked the West Midlands for its new hub thanks to the region’s strong international and UK transport links, availability of local talent and the successful transition of other government departments and private sector companies to the area. The West Midlands Growth Company, the region’s investment promotion and destination management agency, supported VisitBritain/VisitEngland throughout the competitive national process to select a new hub office in England.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said, “VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s move to the West Midlands is a major vote of confidence in our region and comes at a time when visitor numbers here are at a record high. From more Michelin starred restaurants than anywhere outside London to a feast of major sporting fixtures and festivals each and every weekend, the region’s tourism scene is a cornerstone of our economic offer, attracting visitors from around the world.

“We look forward to welcoming VisitBritain/VisitEngland to Birmingham’s Victoria Square House from April.”

Patricia Yates, CEO, VisitBritain/VisitEngland added, “We are delighted to have secured office space in central Birmingham as we begin the transition to our new hub. We are excited about the opportunities and perspectives that having our hub in Birmingham will bring, alongside its excellent transport links for both our international and Britain based staff and access to a broad talent pool.

“Basing our hub office in Birmingham also brings us closer to our regional stakeholders across England including the West Midlands Growth Company. We are delighted that they have become a Destination Development Partnership pilot and will be working with them to drive the economic benefits from tourism across the nations and regions.”

Click here to discover more about the West Midlands Growth Company.