£9m tourism growth ahead for Lanarkshire

£9m tourism growth ahead for Lanarkshire

The Lanarkshire region is targeting £9m a year growth in its tourism sector by 2020.

The group behind VisitLanarkshire.com, VenuesLanarkshire.com and BeLanarkshire.com is targeting 2.5% annual growth, aiming to increase visitor numbers and jobs in the region.

The plans were revealed in the Lanarkshire Area Tourism Partnership’s Tourism Lanarkshire 2020 report.

The three main areas identified for growth are leisure tourism, business tourism and customer service training to encourage repeat business.

Local authorities and independent businesses are also investing heavily to attract leisure and business visitors.

Ongoing projects include a £3.5m upgrade at the David Livingstone Centre and improved conferencing facilities at Dakota Eurocentral, as well as a £4m investment, funded through the Regeneration Captial Grant Fund, 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% in tourism-related jobs since 2012.

Annual visitor numbers to Lanarkshire 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.

Further investments are also being made to improve transport links across the region.

Chair of the Lanarkshire Tourism Association, Mark Calpin, 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."