Some new statistics, via the West Midlands Cultural Sector Economic Snapshot (April 2009).

Visitor attractions (those open during Oct — Dec 08) saw visitor numbers increase by 8%. The report doesn’t say if that increase fed through into total visitor spending. I’d hazard a guess that one factor in the 8% rise might be people enjoying their redundancy payments.

Despite the visitor numbers being up, yesterday a £25m funding package was announced to promote West Midlands tourism (inc. £3m, along with a dynamic new chairman, for Marketing Birmingham). I can see how that makes sense — in the light of the weak pound, a raft of recently-completed arts and cultural venues, more stay-at-home tourism likely in Summer 09, and a positive long-range weather forecast for the summer.

The report also uses Screen West Midlands’ “Credit Crunch Survey”, but since that’s an open online multiple-choice survey (with a mere 20 respondents) it seems rather unreliable as a guide to making policy.

Also mentioned is an unreferenced and untitled… “separate arts-led economic research study conducted with their Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs), Arts Council England (ACE)”. Predictably, this found things like a decline in business/private funding for the arts, and worries about the future of “local authority arts and culture budgets”.