Agenda item

Tourism Task and Finish Scrutiny Review

At its meeting on 24 January, 2017, the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee referred the Scrutiny Review on Tourism to the Cabinet. A covering report, Overview and Scrutiny Committee minute and Scrutiny Review are attached.



Councillor Phil Davies, Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Economic Development, Finance and Devolution said:


“Wirral is a fantastic place to live, and visit.  Tourism is one of our fastest growing industries, with more people every year visiting Wirral and enjoying our unique coast, countryside and leisure attractions.


We have got to build on this momentum.  We have a pledge to increase the value of our tourism economy to £450 million by 2020 – creating hundreds of jobs in the process – and we are well on track to achieving our goal.


I am grateful to the Members of all parties who took part in this scrutiny review and I believe the insight they have provided will prove extremely valuable as we continue our work”.


Councillor Phil Davies invited Councillor Jerry William (the Chair of the Task and Finish Scrutiny Review Panel), who was in attendance at the meeting, to introduce the report that set out the findings and recommendations of the Tourism Scrutiny Review conducted by the Task and Finish Scrutiny Review Panel, following the tourism sector update report presented by Officers to the former Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee.  The purpose of the review had been to look at how the Council promoted and marketed the Borough’s tourism offer and to identify any gaps in its offer that could be exploited. 


The review specifically linked to the Wirral Plan for 2020 tourism pledge, which highlighted the ambitious target.


The Cabinet noted that the review had been conducted over a number of question and answer evidence sessions with Council Officers and external stakeholders. The Panel had evaluated Wirral’s marketing activity and how it worked with the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership for support in marketing Wirral’s offer and a number of recommendations had been made as a result of the review.


Councillor Williams informed that the Panel had analysed the effect of tourism on Wirral, that Wirral had the fastest growing tourism economy in the Liverpool City Region and that there had been concerns that heritage tourism had not been promoted in an inclusive manner but this had now been addressed. He also emphasised that there was a need to develop the Wirral riverside in a similar way to that of Liverpool. There had not always been a cohesive approach.  The Woodside area was now identified as a priority for re-development.


Councillor Williams also informed that the review had identified the importance of volunteers as most heritage activity was delivered by them.  The Review Panel had recognised a need to understand what support e.g. training could be provided to volunteers to help ensure volunteer activity could be maintained and potentially increased.  There was also potential to advise volunteers on promoting events through Wirral Council media and other media platforms.


Councillor Williams referred to the Report’s recommendations and highlighted that:


·  The Council should engage with relevant stakeholders to develop and deliver workshop sessions for the benefit of Wirral’s volunteers.

·  Culture should be integrated with tourism and leisure with growth via relevant partnership-led strategies.  This will enable a more developed tourism offer.

·  A strategy should be drawn up to take advantage of the return of the Giants in 2018, including the delivery of a programme of activity that will raise the profile of Wirral.


Councillor Matthew Patrick informed that a ‘spotlight on’ session was to be held for Members on Monday, 10 April 2017 which would provide them with an opportunity to contribute to the Wirral Together Volunteering Strategy. The Strategy recognised the vital role of residents and communities in achieving the Wirral 2020 Pledges and set out clear priorities for inspiring, encouraging and enabling volunteering to grow.


Councillor Bernie Moonie agreed that the role of volunteers was fundamental to improving and expanding Wirral Tourism and developing its culture offer.


Councillor Davies informed that the Review Panel had carried out an excellent review and Councillor Williams, as the Council’s Heritage Champion, was well qualified to make recommendations.  He also referred to the report’s recommendations in respect of the Council’s initiative to improve the offer at Birkenhead Market, a key feature in the regeneration of the town, the opportunities the return of the Giants presented to work as the Liverpool City Region on this event and to the need to improve transport across the Wirral, linked to the emerging Integrated Transport Strategy for Birkenhead and the wider Wirral.




(1)  the findings of the report be endorsed;


(2)  all recommendations arising from the review be approved; and


(3)  Councillor Jerry Williams be thanked for introducing the Tourism Scrutiny Review Report and his attendance at the meeting. 


Councillor Ann McLachlan left the meeting whilst the next item of business was under consideration.

Supporting documents: