- Black Country Living Museum Chief Executive succeeds Fiona Allan
- Lovett brings 30 years of senior level experience within tourism sector
- West Midlands set for 12 months in the global spotlight as host of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Andrew Lovett has been appointed the new chair of the West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism. Lovett succeeds Fiona Allan, who stepped down in November to become chief executive of Opera Australia.
Lovett is the chief executive of Black Country Living Museum, a role he has held since 2009. He has 30 years of leadership experience working across the museums, leisure, tourism, arts, heritage and protected landscape sectors.
A current member of the Regional Board for Tourism, Lovett also chairs the Association of Independent Museums and the Dudley Towns Fund Board. He is on the National Museums Directors’ Council’s Executive Committee and the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Cultural Leadership Board.
“It is an honour to be named chair of the Regional Board for Tourism and to follow Fiona, who led the group formidably since its inception in 2019.
“The West Midlands has such a varied tourism sector, which deserves its place in the spotlight. From heritage attractions like Black Country Living Museum to our rich and distinctive culinary offering and world-class cultural gems, we’re sure to make a lasting impression on sporting spectators and international visitors during the next 12 months.
“It remains a turbulent time for tourism and hospitality, especially in view of the recent rise of coronavirus variants affecting our everyday life. As part of my role as the new Chair, I will work tirelessly with board members and my professional networks to ensure our sector receives the support it needs during this unpredictable and challenging period.”
The West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism is supported by the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC), which attracts visitors, investment and events to the area.
The board is tasked with delivering the West Midlands’ £1 billion Tourism Strategy, to help the region’s visitor economy to grow its economic value. Comprising representatives and experts from fields including sport, culture, conferencing venues and attractions, the board champions the area’s tourism sector, and advocates for funding from government.
Becky Frall, head of visitor attraction at WMGC, added:
“Andrew is a great fit to head up our West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism. His energy, experience and commitment to the area’s visitor economy, together with the respect he commands among national decision-makers across public and private sectors, are crucial attributes to drive our region’s tourism sector forward.
“There is no doubt that the last two years have been a hugely challenging period for the tourism industry. While there will inevitably still be bumps ahead, we are encouraged by the opportunities presented by our new Business and Tourism Programme, capitalising on the profile generated by the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“With Andrew at the helm, the board will maintain its work with stakeholders to ensure we lead the sector’s continued road to recovery, ahead of a defining year for the West Midlands.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the West Midlands saw a 56% drop in visitor numbers to 59.4 million in 2020, with spend falling from £13.1bn to £5.7bn (source: STEAM / Global Tourism Solutions).
Launched last summer, the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) aims to harness the global spotlight of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as a springboard to transform the West Midlands from an undiscovered gem to a must-visit, global destination. The Programme will celebrate the West Midlands’ cultural and tourism offers, foster civic pride, attract visitors from around the world, supercharge the region’s recovery, and deliver a long-term economic multiplier effect that supports local tourism businesses and supply chains, far beyond the Games.
In 2022, the region welcomes the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (28 July – 8 August) and the six-month Birmingham 2022 Festival (March –September). Other major cultural showcases include the Birmingham International Dance Festival (June), British Art Show 9 in Wolverhampton (January – April), and the culmination of Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, with the Radio 1 Big Weekend (May).