Record number of tourists visiting Coventry

Over 10 million people visited Coventry in 2019, a significant rise from 8.9 million in 2016, according to a new report.

Coventry has seen record-breaking growth in the number of people visiting the city in 2019 compared to previous years – and the city’s food and drink sector has seen the largest rise – according to a new report.

New figures have been published in an annual report commissioned by the Coventry Destination Management Partnership and Coventry Business Improvement District.

The report is a tourism economic impact model that helps to indicate growth trends and the value of the city’s visitor economy.

In 2019, Coventry recorded over 10 million visitors, compared to 8.9 million in 2016.

In economic terms, the visitor economy was worth £594 million in 2019 – a 4.6 per cent increase on the previous year.

According to councillors and business leaders, the growth figures reflect the impact of Coventry’s City of Culture status for 2021, improvements in the city centre food and drinks offer, the influence of students on the city, and the higher numbers of local people using venues.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle from Coventry City Council welcomed the new figures as excellent news for the city but added that the economic impact of COVID-19 is proving a major challenge.

Though these figures are expected to drop in 2020 due to reduced tourism related to the coronavirus pandemic, Coventry is in the opportune position of having the schedule of City of Culture events that will draw in visitors to the city at a time when it is needed most.

Trish Willets, the director of Coventry BID, commented: “We hear and see, first hand, that operators – under normal circumstances – are experiencing growth and this report helps us put a number to that growth. 

“These amazing figures show that what’s been done to date is working. They also feed into our ‘Coventry BID Recovery Toolkit’, which helps us to help our businesses repair, recover and revive after lockdown.

“One exciting tool in our kit is the inaugural Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, which has already received nominations for over 40 venues in just over a week – proving there’s an appetite to toast the best of the city and county’s food and drink scene.  We say, ‘cheers’ to that.”

The economic impact report indicates that in 2019 the food and drink sector represented the largest overall contribution to the visitor economy – 29 per cent at £110 million – up 6.1 per cent compared to 2018.

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, welcomed the news, adding: “It is great to see the positive impact that winning the UK City of Culture title at the end of 2017 has already had on tourism in Coventry, even before our year as UK City of Culture begins in 2021.”