January VE Forum highlights year ahead

The Wirral Visitor Economy Network (WVEN) Forum took place at Tranmere Rovers during January.  Introduced by WVEN Chair, Lorna Tyson, the VE forum presented opportunities for Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Wirral Council and other guest speakers to offer insights into the Wirral visitor industry.

For Wirral its Tourism Sector is worth £426 million a year, including 9 million day/short break visitors coming to the area annually, figures are being targeted to increase by 2020.Hosted and introduced by WVEN Chair, Lorna Tyson, following a short introduction the forum heard several keynote presentations.

Lucy Barrow of Wirral Council gave an update on events taking place throughout 2019. These included March - Birkenhead Town Hall coming to life once again as part of the Animated Square, April - Made of Iron Exhibition looks back on our shipbuilding heritage), May - Hull’s Absolutely Cultured, Wirral and Waltham Forest come together to create a brand new outdoor spectacle, June - Celebrate the Mersey River Festival, September - The Walker Cup returns to Royal Liverpool Golf Club and, in November return of the River of Light.

Mark Palios, Chair of Tranmere Rovers, then highlighted the importance that sports plays in developing a vibrant visitor economy.  During his presentation, Mark touched on the role of the international market, pinpointing that Tranmere Rovers has made inroads to Indonesia, Spain and, of course the major links being developed with China.

Tranmere Rovers should be looked as a marketable brand in developing visitor economy, with many overseas visitors, such as Norway, making regular weekend journeys to Wirral to watch and support the team and in consequence come over and use local businesses and shopping trips.

Concluding the forum, Tranmere Rovers Associate Director, Lee McAteer, talked developing and believing in success.  After being told in 2009 by Dragons’ Den judge Duncan Bannatyne that he’d never be able to compete with one of America’s best known brands, Lee McAteer set out to prove him wrong his mixture of summer camp, gap year and tour companies aimed at UK Millennials which now turnovers £4 million in and employs 100 people.

Lee has Wirral background and the area is still important to him, and his career  has so far taken him all over the world with intiatives including Wrestling Travel, AmeriCamp. Lee emphasised the use of social media including Twiiter and What’sApp, and to be succcesful we need to surround ourselves with positivity, and it is all about delivery not just the strategy – go the extra mile.

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