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COUNCILLORS have approved a new plan which aims to increase Wirral's annual tourism revenue and create more jobs in the sector.

The Wirral Visitor Economy Strategy was considered by members of the authority's cabinet when it met this morning. 

Created by local tourism businesses, industry experts, Wirral Chamber of Commerce and the council it will see new promotions, events and attractions developed, with the aim of increasing the value of visitor economy to £450 million per year by 2020.

Already the fastest-growing tourism destination in the region, the strategy describes how the borough will focus on increasing overnight visitors, targeting younger and family groups, and increasing the amount of corporate and conference business attracted to the peninsula.

Cllr Phill Brightmore, cabinet member for environment which also covers tourism and the visitor economy described it as an ambitious strategy, adding: "Wirral's tourism industry continues to go from strength to strength. 

"We are the fastest growing visitor destination in the Liverpool City Region, with thousands more people discovering Wirral every year.

"We cannot take this for granted and expect this growth to simply continue year-on-year. We must make sure we do everything possible to promote our borough throughout the UK and internationally.

"This new tourism strategy is a big step.

"Produced through a collaboration of industry and experts, local businesses and partners, it helps us clearly define a new approach for marketing Wirral.

I am confident this work will help us achieve all of ambitions for the tourism industry in Wirral, increasing the value of the economy and helping create many more jobs."

Cabinet leader Phil Davies said: "Sometimes, people don't appreciate the importance our visitor economy plays.

"It is a hugely important sector to us. We ignore it at our peril."

Paula Basnett, chief executive of Wirral Chamber of Commerce, led the group of industry experts who developed the strategy.

She said: "I would like to thank the many regional and national experts who gave us their time and expertise to develop this strategy.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the local tourism businesses which have done and will continue to do so much to develop our visitor economy.

"We are extremely lucky in Wirral.

"Our food and drink offer is second to none; great restaurants, award-winning producers and breweries offering some of the most diverse and locally produced food in the UK.

"We have to capitalise on this, shout about Wirral's offer and make sure we promote what a fabulous place this is to visit and enjoy.

"This strategy helps us do it, and I am delighted to be able to lead its delivery".