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Shakespeare's England launches tourism blueprint

A major blueprint for the Shakespeare’s England regional tourism industry was launched last week. It identifies seven areas for development and allots resources for stakeholders. The tourism organisation for Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Kenilworth, Royal Leamington Spa and surrounding areas revealed its first destination management plan (DMP) at Kenilworth Castle in front of an audience of tourism stakeholders from across the region. The event was attended by James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland. Berresford said: “These plans are an important part in the development of the local visitor economy and will help ensure that Shakespeare’s England continues to be one of the country’s leading tourist destinations.” The plan is a statement of intent of how local tourism businesses, and partners such as Birmingham Airport, can work together to develop the area as a visitor destination over the next decade. VisitEngland sees the development of DMPs throughout England as an essential tool for delivery of a successful visitor economy. The DMP is designed to reduce duplication of effort and maximise investment in the right areas. The Shakespeare's England DMP outlines seven key areas for the development of the local visitor economy. These include developing the evidence base for information on tourism, destination and infrastructure development, market development, communication of the regional offer, product development, welcome and information, and the skills and business development. The plan has been developed over the last 12 months in conjunction with many of the local tourism businesses and funded by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Warwickshire County Council. Latest figures indicate that tourism's value to Shakespeare’s England rose by 15% to £631m per annum, employing over 11,000 people. Jonathan Browning, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Destination Management Plan will help us identify all the different ways we can work together to grow this important part of our local economy and build on our potential to attract even more visitors to the area.”