Lanarkshire Area Tourism Partnership, the group behind VisitLanarkshire.com, VenuesLanarkshire.com and BeLanarkshire.com has announced that they are targeting £9m growth (2.5%) in the region’s tourism sector by 2020.
The Tourism Lanarkshire 2020 report, which was published this week, identifies three key areas for growth: leisure tourism, business tourism and customer service training to encourage repeat business. The strategy focuses on themes that include turning assets into quality experiences, improving the customer journey, increasing digital capabilities, and leadership and collaboration.
Local authorities and independent businesses are also investing heavily to attract leisure and business visitors to the region, with ongoing projects including a £3.5m upgrade at the David Livingstone Centre and improved conferencing facilities at Dakota Eurocentral as well as a £4m investment for the Muirfield Centre in Cumbernauld.
Hotel developments include £429,000 invested by the Q hotels group in new spa facilities at Westerwood Hotel and the newly opened five-star Crossbasket Castle hotel near East Kilbride.
Lanarkshire Area Tourism Partnership’s coordinated approach to attracting tourism has helped lead to a 12% growth in tourism-related jobs since 2012. Annual visitor numbers to the region are also up by more than 100,000 in the same period, and the accommodation provision has increased by 12% since 1999 to almost 8,000 beds.
Mark Calpin, chair of the Lanarkshire Tourism Association, said: “Our 2.5% year-on-year growth target is ambitious but achievable. By 2020, we want to cement Lanarkshire’s reputation as a destination that offers excellent quality, value for money and accessibility for all.
“The tourism sector in Lanarkshire is already thriving with every £1 invested returning around £56 to the local economy. We anticipate seeing this rate grow over the coming four years. The area enjoys some of the best food and drink, transport links, accommodation, heritage and businesses in the country.”
“We can only achieve these targets with the ongoing support of the local authorities, businesses and tourism groups in the region. By pulling together in the same direction, we believe we can exceed our targets and help Lanarkshire’s tourism economy thrive.”