Visitor numbers to Dudley exceed pre-pandemic levels

Commonwealth Games Time Trial travelled throuh Dudley as part of the Bimringham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Nearly nine and a half million people visited Dudley borough last year, exceeding pre-pandemic figures, a report has shown.

In an economic impact assessment commissioned by the West Midlands Growth Company, it identified there were 9.39million visitors to Dudley Borough up from 9million in 2019.  These visitor figures generated an economic value for the borough of £401million, up 27% on 2019 figures.

The West Midlands  as a whole, welcomed an unprecedented 141.2 million visitors in 2022, smashing the previous record set before the COVID-19 pandemic. The figures represent a 38% increase on tourist numbers in 2021, and a 5% rise compared to 2019 data, which was the last research to be carried out before the tourist industry was severely impacted by the global pandemic.

With the UK government’s aim to recover both domestic and inbound visitor numbers to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023, the West Midlands is leading the country’s Covid recovery 12 months ahead of schedule.

Spending by visitors to the West Midlands in 2022 rose to £14.1 billion, up by £4 billion from 2021 and £1 billion more than pre-Covid figures in 2019. Tourists spent most on the West Midlands’ retail (41%), food and drink (21%) and recreational (15%) offer, when visiting the region. Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

"Dudley borough is a great destination for visitors with our series of world class attractions such as the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley Zoo and Castle, Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust and the Red House Glass Cone.

"We all know that the tourism sector was hit hard during the pandemic and it’s really encouraging to see visitor numbers to the borough and region have bounced back and are higher than they were in 2019.

"We know the Commonwealth Games had a big part to play in the region’s recovery as the event attracted visitors from around the world. In Dudley, we were proud to be part of the games and that people lined our streets to cheer on elite cyclists as they raced through the borough.

"We’re already building on the success and legacy of the games by hosting another cycling event this summer, the Dudley Grand Prix circuit race event, which will once again attract international athletes to our shores."

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games gave the West Midlands its time to shine on the international stage, presenting the UK with a cause for celebration and drawing crowds from across the world.

A record 1.5 million spectators bought tickets for events, making it the most popular Commonwealth Games ever to be hosted in the UK. More than five million people came to Birmingham city centre during Games-time – a 200% increase on the same period 12 months earlier.

Hotel occupancy in Birmingham averaged 90% during the 12-day Commonwealth Games period, with an unprecedented 95% peak on Saturday 6 August. West Midlands hotels received an additional £19.4 million in room revenue compared to the same period in 2019.

Other major events enticing crowds to the West Midlands in 2022 included the Birmingham 2022 Festival (March – September); the British Art Show 9 in Wolverhampton (January – April); Coventry UK City of Culture (until May); the Sandwell & Birmingham Mela (August); and the Rugby League World Cup in Coventry (October). Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, added:

“After what no one could dispute has been a challenging time for the world’s tourism industry, it’s great news to see that our region has defied national predictions to bounce back more rapidly than expected.

“The relative strength and resilience of our tourism sector is why I remain hopeful that we can get more local people into tourism related jobs in the months and years ahead – something I know is a priority for our regional Tourism & Hospitality Advisory Board.”


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