A £25 MILLION action plan which will support Dudley’s tourism sector during the recession and beyond has been launched by Minister for the West Midlands, Ian Austin MP.

The plan,which includes a £1 million advertising campaign to draw people to the Black Country and the West Midlands, is part of a sustained investment campaign by Advantage West Midlands over the next three years.

Attractions suchas the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley Zoo and Himley Hall help to make the region one of the key tourism areas, with nearly 19 million visitors each year and adding £770 million to the economy.

The plan set out by Mr Austin includes a £1 million TV advertising campaign,which will be the first-ever regional television advertisement to bring domestic visitors to the West Midlands, and a £12 million campaign to attract new conferences, exhibitions and events,with £3 million to boost business tourism.

There will also be a new partnership between airports, hotels, theatres, shopping centres and attractions to promote short city-breaks from elsewhere in Britain and Europe and new partnerships between major attractions on joint promotions and ticket offers,making it easier for visitors to get information and book tickets online A £1 million Celebration of Imagination Festival and Event Programme, celebrating the region’s wide range of significant anniversaries in 2009, is also planned and the 2012 Olympics also features in the list – with an action plan to ensure visitors to Britain travel to the Black Country during their stay.

Mr Austin, MP for Dudley North, said: “The Black Country is undoubtedly one of the jewels in the West Midlands’ tourism crownand it’s vital we do everything we possibly can to support it through the recession and beyond.”

He added: “We have worldclass attractions, first-class shopping, fantastic theatres and beautiful countryside.

“The downturn is having a real impact and our action plan sets out the real help we’re providing to get the industry through the recession.

“I want to increase tourism in the region, make sure we bring more visitors to the Black Country and the West Midlands, boost our economy and create more jobs.”