21 November 2006

Showcase for market towns

Market towns across the West Midlands will share almost £1million in an innovative tourism initiative funded by Advantage West Midlands.
The regional development agency chairman Nick Paul has launched the ‘Better Welcome for Market Towns Initiative’ which will be managed by Action for Market Towns’ new contracting and research division amt-i.
Mr Paul announced details of the scheme at the recent Action for Market Towns National Conference which was held in the Worcestershire towns of Evesham and Pershore.
amt-i will work in partnership with Heart of England Tourism and the Regional Centre for Tourism Business Support to deliver the Better Welcome for Market Towns Programme. 
Throughout Spring and Summer next year Heart of England Tourism will be carrying out visitor surveys in the participating towns with the results being analysed to see how West Midlands' towns are perceived in comparison to other English towns. 
Market Town Partnerships will be supported by Heart of England Tourism and amt-i in drawing up action plans and a development fund of £25,000 will be allocated for each town to kick-start some of the activity, with the hope and expectation that further funds can be levered in from the public and private sector.
Nick Paul, chairman of Advantage West Midlands said: “The initiative has been a huge success story for our region and has helped to turn West Midlands market towns into hubs for rural regeneration.
“The project demonstrates the key role that market towns play in the region’s tourism industry - the hope is that the project will result in greater numbers of visitors and all  the economic benefits that this can bring with it.”
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