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Major growth for West Midlands tourist attractions

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Drayton Manor Theme Park named among best paid-for attractions

Footfall at West Midlands tourist attractions increased by the joint highest amount among English regions in 2015.

The region, along with the East Midlands and South West, saw a six per cent rise in the number of visitors passing through the gates of attractions, according to VisitEngland's Annual Attraction Survey.

The study also revealed that MAC Birmingham and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery were among the 20 most-visited free attractions in the country last year and the two most popular locations outside of London and the South East.

Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire was the tenth most-visited paid-for attraction in 2015, with 1.21 million visitors, a 14 per cent increase on the previous year.

The Tower of London remained at number one, followed by Westminster Abbey and Kew Gardens.

MAC saw its visitor numbers break through the million mark in 2015 at 1.02 million while the art gallery enjoyed a 31 per cent year-on-year increase in visitors, attracting 909,935 people.

The list was topped for the eighth year by the British Museum in London.

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Emma Gray, director of marketing and communications at Visit Birmingham, said: "More people than ever are being drawn to the West Midlands to discover what the area's many tourist attractions have to offer them.

"Whether it's heritage, cultural, sporting or family venues, this latest VisitEngland report is further proof that the region is becoming an increasingly popular choice for visitors.

"It echoes our own data, which shows that Birmingham alone has enjoyed a 17 per cent increase in tourists since 2010, resulting in an overall visitor economy worth £6.2 billion last year."

Dorothy Wilson, chief executive and artistic director at MAC, added: "When we reopened to the public six years ago, our intention was to make art as open and accessible to as many people as possible, especially operating in one of Europe's youngest and most diverse cities.

"Our visitor figures prove that the region has embraced MAC as an important part of their cultural life."

Overall, visits to England's attractions rose by two per in 2015, with revenue up five per cent.

England's gardens, farms and leisure and theme parks have seen the most significant growth in visitor numbers, with a seven per cent increase.

More than 1,500 English attractions were involved in the survey.

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