Agenda item


The Director of Culture, Tourism and Inward Investment submits a report to the Commission with a progress update on the actions outlined in the Leicester Tourism Action Plan 2020-2025.


The Director of Culture, Tourism and Inward Investment submitted a report to the Commission with a progress update on the actions outlined in the Leicester Tourism Action Plan 2020-2025.


Councillor Clair, Deputy City Mayor for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Regulatory Services, introduced the item and relayed to the Commission the plans and investments in place to promote Leicester as a tourist destination of choice in the United Kingdom.


The City Centre Director, led the presentation. It was noted that the Tourism Action Plan had been launched at the end of 2019 at the Leicester Business Festival, as a collaboration with Leicestershire County Council. During the presentation, it was noted that:


·       Local hotel occupation rates had recovered to 2019 levels since the pandemic. There was a 45% increase in bedspace due to the opening of new hotel franchises.

·       78% of the Tourism Action plan had already been delivered despite pandemic impacts and the predicted 2025 completion date.

·       The Action plan was based on four main areas of interest: Product, Place, Positioning and People.

·       An extra 1,500 more spaces for outdoor eating and drinking had been brought to the city.

·       The Santander Cycle Scheme had achieved over 45,000 trips around the city as of April 2022, with 23 cycle docking stations, which was planned to increase to 30 docks and 300 cycles in 2022.

·       There was an increase in overnight stays at Leicester, thanks to efforts from the ‘Uncover the Story’ promotion and the Leicester trails and itineraries in development, which propsed ideas for half-day to full weekend breaks in Leicester City.

·       With assistance from BID Leicester, £4.2 million had been privately funded for Leicester businesses. BID ambassadors were providing a valuable meet and greet service to city centre visitors.

·       ‘Meet Leicester’ free service had been established through the Place Marketing Team to promote business tourism for 50 venues and attractions.

·       Businesses had been supported with ‘We’ve Missed You’ and ‘Make a Date with Leicester’ campaigns funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant.

·       Footfall counters in three areas had recorded footfall as being nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.


Regarding the People aspect in focus, it was noted that:


·       Due to the national and local skill shortage, DWP had set up a skills academy where local residents could develop new skills and form connections. Interviews with local employers were guaranteed to those using this prospect.

·       The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) careers hub were working with tourism advisors in the City and County to create an ‘Open Doors’ programme for visitors to Leicester and Leicestershire.

·       Next steps include developing a plan to promote the Visiting Friends and Family (VFR) market by recruiting local volunteer ambassadors to become local ‘influencers’, discovering and promoting what Leicester had to offer, and encouraging public and business communication.


The Chair thanked the officers for the presentation. Members were invited to ask questions of the officers.


Members questioned the unique points of Leicester, and what aspects would prevent locals and tourists alike from going elsewhere for a weekend away and instead, choose Leicester. Members also questioned the balance of availability for opportunity for adults and children. It was noted that Leicester had a wealth of opportunity and experience for all ages, including but not limited to; the National Space Centre, King Richard III gallery, broadness of culture and cuisine and leisure activities such as escape rooms and crazy golf, alongside the added benefit of Leicester’s ease of accessibility through public transport links.


Further discussed was how Leicester compared to nearby competitors, such as Nottingham. It was noted that Leicester was a second-tier city, just below hotspots such as Birmingham and Bristol. Further data and statistics would be provided to the Commission at a later date.


Members discussed the Leicester Heritage Panels and potential errors in the information provided. It was noted that the Panels would be reviewed for any existing errors.


Members looked positively on Leicester’s potential in various areas, including the business tourism market, considering its strategic location and public transport accessibility.


The Commission debated the Action Plan’s ability to gain the interest of under 35’s, due to the heavy importance placed on the historical aspects of the city, which was considered to be less interesting for that age group. It was noted that the student population and nightlife opportunity in Leicester was expansive, but more would have to be considered to keep students in the city after graduation.


Members requested further data on age groups involved in physically attended events or digital campaigns online, as well as data on the targets and indicators for success in achieving the Tourism Action Plan’s goals.


It was noted that European grant funding for Covid-19 was provided to local businesses across various sectors, such as hotels, retail, hospitality, leisure and beauty.


Members discussed untapped potential in the Golden Mile and what could be done to bring it to the forefront of Leicester’s tourist aims.


Members considered business tourism events may finish later than the current opening times of facilities and attractions, and therefore consideration for extending opening hours later would be the most effective in targeting the business tourism market. It was noted that opening hours could be extended into the evening on a need basis and approach towards late hour openings could be flexible. It was further noted that the Cathedral area including St. Martins Square was well placed to welcome business events.


Members discussed concerns over the impact in the job market due to Brexit and what areas of the industry marketing was targeting to retain and attract new hospitality staff to Leicester. It was noted that hospitality was a large area in focus for recruitment, with the aim to be a stable career choice. Local agencies were stabilising the shortage in hospitality, therefore Leicester’s career hub partnerships with LLEP and DWP would address the hospitality skill shortage over the next few years.


It was noted that Leicester had an opportunity to target group travel such as friendship groups meeting up or business tourism. The brochures in production would assist in targeting that demographic through day trip ideas to local attractions.


Members debated the potential of replicating the current efforts and investments in the city centre in other areas of the city, as current focus in investment felt limited to a specific area. It was noted that the ‘Uncover the Story’ project covered the exploration of the region, not just the city centre.


It was noted by Members and officers that the sporting market was another area of focus and plans to make the most of Leicester City Football Club, Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, and hosting other sporting events like World Darts, to increase tourism and footfall were underway.


Councillor Clair praised Member input and depth of thought process put forward for the item. He noted the wealth of opportunity and thriving economy of the city compared to 10-15 years ago. The Commission was reminded of the budget cuts in the Council and that all efforts were put forward to achieve the best possible outcome for Leicester despite the budget concerns.


Members questioned the need for additional resources and funding available. It was noted that the Shared Prosperity Fund may be an appropriate funding vehicle and the decision on the allocation would be confirmed in a few weeks’ time.




1.    That Members be kept updated on the progression of the item, including an update to the Commission in six months.

2.    That further data and statistics regarding Leicester’s place against nearby competitors be provided to the Commission at a later date.

3.    That further data regarding age groups involved in physically attended events or digital campaigns, as well as data on targets and indicators for success in achieving the Tourism Action Plan’s objectives be presented to the Commission at a later date.

4.    That Members comments be taken into consideration for future work.

Supporting documents: