The WMCA Board is expected to give the green light tomorrow to plans to put funding towards a further programme of activities in a bid to increase the benefits of hosting the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 ©Birmingham 2022

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board is to consider plans to apply for funding from the United Kingdom Government in a bid to start a programme to secure extra tourism and trade ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Board is expected to give the green light tomorrow to plans to put £2.6 million ($3.2 million/€2.89 million) towards a programme of activities designed to maximise the opportunities from the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which are set to bring millions of pounds to Birmingham and the West Midlands economy while also creating thousands of jobs. 

If permission is granted a business case for a Tourism Trade and Investment (TTI) programme will then be submitted to the UK Government, which if granted will secure a further £21.3 million ($26.8 million/€23.6 million) of match funding.

Subject to the business case being accepted the TTI programme would use the combined £24 million ($30.2 million/€26.6 million) to help create an economic legacy for the region. 

The programme would seek to capitalise on Birmingham and the surrounding area's international focus before, during and after the Commonwealth Games to boost its reputation as a destination for trade, investment, education and tourism. 

Potential initiatives as part of the TTI programme could include domestic and international tourism campaigns and trade missions to important markets throughout the Commonwealth. 

The UK Government was first approached about receiving funding from the TTI programme last year, and any funding will be especially beneficial given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are incredibly lucky to be hosting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at a time when economies everywhere will still be rebuilding from the impact of COVID-19," said Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.

"The Games offer us a unique economic bonus and it’s imperative we do everything we can to make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity and create thousands of local jobs for local people.

"This TTI programme would aim to transform the global reputation of the West Midlands and showcase all that’s best about our region so that more people want to visit us, do business with us and invest in us."

The TTI programme aims to deliver additional benefits including hundreds of jobs for the whole of the West Midlands as well as Foreign Direct Investment projects, leisure tourism expenditure and conference and sporting expenditure.

"With the eyes of millions focused on the West Midlands there will never be a better time to forge new trade and tourism links," said Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and WMCA portfolio holder for economy and innovation.

"This proposed programme can help us do that, supporting not just local exporters but also the thousands of home-grown businesses working in the region’s tourism, hospitality and cultural sector who have been hit so hard by the coronavirus lockdown.

"Above all, we need to make sure the new investment, jobs and wider opportunities generated are able to benefit all our communities, so that the economy we rebuild in the wake of coronavirus is a fairer and more inclusive one."

If funding is approved by the WMCA Board, then a business case will be developed and submitted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport by West Midlands Growth Company on behalf of the WMCA, who would then manage the programme.