A “fresh and ambitious” strategy to grow the £1billion tourism industry across the Tay Cities Region has been launched.

The Tay Cities Region Tourism Strategy 2019-2024 – the first of its kind in the region – was endorsed by members of the Tay Cities Region Joint Committee at a meeting in Perth.

Members were told that day visitors spend £603million per year in the area, while overnight visitors contributed £433million to the economies of Perth and Kinross, Angus, Dundee and north-east Fife.

One of the key aims of the strategy is to grow the overnight visitor spend by 3% every year, to £550million in 2024.

Joint Committee Chair, Councillor Murray Lyle, said: “This is the first time that there has been a Tourism Strategy for the Tay Cities area, to support the existing local strategies.

“It demonstrates our regional collaboration in respect of economic development and reflects the spirit of the ambitions outlined in the Tay Cities Deal.

“A broad range of voices from across the tourism industry in the Tay Cities Region have helped shape the ambitions and priorities in this strategy.

“Collaboration and shared decision-making will define how we implement this strategy too.”

The sector employs 28,000 people across the region. Major strengths include the creative industries, high-quality food and drink and outdoors adventures.

Over the next decade, an additional £37million will be invested in the tourism sectors as part of the Tay Cities Deal, subject to the approval of a business case programme.

Councillor Lyle continued: “We are taking a fresh, ambitious approach to developing the Tay Cities Region as an outstanding destination that encourages visitors to stay longer, explore and return on a regular basis.

“We look forward to working together to deliver this strategy.”

A leadership group, comprising senior industry stakeholders, is to be established to oversee the delivery of the strategy.

Scottish Enterprise Tourism team leader Paul McCafferty said: “Scottish Enterprise is pleased to be a partner in the creation of the recently launched Tay Cities Regional Tourism Strategy.

“The region has outstanding natural and built assets which the strategy will support to provide exciting and inspirational experiences for our visitors from the UK and globally.

“This focus on regional working and partnership with businesses and local communities signals a new and deeper understanding of the benefits that can be gained from tourism.”

Meanwhile, the June meeting of the joint committee was also given an update on the progress of the 25 broad-ranging projects which make up the Tay Cities Region Deal.

Outline business cases for all the projects have been submitted and shared with the UK and Scottish Governments. These will also now be scrutinised over the coming months.

The Tay Cities Region comprises the local authority areas of Angus, Dundee City, Perth & Kinross and the North East part of Fife. The region has a strong economic base and regional identity with world class universities and many cutting-edge businesses. It is home to almost 500,000 people and more than 15,000 businesses.

The Tay Cities Deal is a partnership between local, Scottish and UK governments and the private, academic and voluntary sectors which seeks to create a smarter and fairer Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth & Kinross under the headings Inclusive Tay; Innovative Tay; International Tay; Connected Tay and An Empowered Tay.

In total, the 25 projects/programmes submitted require investment of £700 million of which £300 million over 10 to 15 years is being put in by the Scottish and UK governments and their agencies, subject to final approval of robust business cases.

If every project and programme set out in the submission is funded and delivered, up to 6,000 job opportunities could be created across the tourism, food and drink, creative industries, eco innovation, digital, decommissioning, engineering, biomedical and health and care sectors.