Hospitality and tourism leaders heralded an exciting but challenging new era for Coventry and Warwickshire at a major gathering of regional business figures.
Paul Jones, Managing Director of Destination Coventry, revealed and celebrated a triumphant post-Covid comeback for the region’s visitor economy at the July edition of Coventry & Warwickshire Champions.
The event, organised and operated by the Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub, saw around 150 local business people attend the event at Stoneleigh Abbey, with James Kempston, CEO of NP Aerospace, and Richard Harrison, Managing Director of No Ordinary Hospitality Management (NOHM) joining Jones as speakers.
Destination Coventry announced the value of the visitor economy in the city had soared to more than £750 million – surpassing 2019 levels – with Jones explaining that the city had surpassed its pre-pandemic benchmark far sooner than expected.
Jones also explained his goal to “get more eyes on Coventry as a visitor destination” in the coming years, and suggested that, like all businesses, there would be new challenges for the tourism sector to face through to 2024.
CW Champions is managed by the Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub and recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary as a business network, with a record number of new businesses joining to celebrate successes in the region in recent months.
He said: “We have outshone the rest of the West Midlands in terms of our growth in visitor numbers. Events such as City of Culture and the Radio 1 Big Weekend, played a part in that but the trend is upward.
“Coventry has really stepped up as a leading event location due to our assets, location and the efforts of organisation such as ours, the City Council and individual businesses.
“We cannot rely on attracting events, we also have to breed our own, and that is also happening to an increasing degree which is a very good sign.”
NOHM was recently appointed to market events at Stoneleigh Abbey, with Harrison celebrating the collaborative opportunities in the region on the back of a successful campaign to create new partnerships with local suppliers, and vowed to continue the effort to work together with more small businesses in the region.
The former Head of Conference Centres of Warwick Conferences also highlighted the role diversification has played in the expansion of NOHM.
The group has introduced a range of new attractions and experiences at Coombe Abbey Hotel and St Mary’s Guildhall over the last year.
World-leading manufacturer NP Aerospace has an 80,000 sq ft Advanced Armour Systems facility and 30,000 sq ft Vehicle Systems and Services facility in Coventry.
Nic Erskine, Executive Director of Coventry & Warwickshire Champions, said: “It was brilliant to see new and familiar faces at such an impressive venue at our July event.
“We heard some really positive and encouraging developments from key players in the region’s tourism and hospitality industry, as well as an insight into a major global supplier operating in the region, and I’d like to thank all speakers for making it such an engaging morning.”
Kate Turner, Operations Manager at Katronic Technologies Limited, was among the new Champions attending the event.
She said: “As a new Champion I was made to feel very welcome at the July event. CW Champions provides an opportunity for influential individuals to pass on knowledge and work with others to make a difference.
“As a business leader, I am looking forward to connecting with other Champions and bringing this benefit to my team and business.”