Visit Birmingham’s ‘Meet and Greet’ service has received record bookings from visitors arriving by coach to the city’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, which opened to the public today.
The welcome service, which sees Visit Birmingham’s Visitor Experience team greet customers travelling to the market by coach, has experienced a 30% rise in bookings over the last year with 148 coaches set to visit the Frankfurt Market this winter compared to 114 in 2011. Passenger numbers have also rocketed from 5,337 to 7,277 – an increase of 36% – as the biggest German Christmas Market in the UK, attracting an average of three million visitors a year, continues to grow in popularity.
Visit Birmingham has been running the annual ‘Meet and Greet’ service since 2008 which includes a special introduction to the Christmas Market from the Visitor Experience team, practical tips and information on the city’s wider visitor offer and a shopping map for passengers. This year, coaches are set to descend on the city from 40 different locations around the UK including Sheffield, Peterborough, Teignmouth, Cheltenham, Darlington and Bedford.
Jennifer Young, Head of Visitor Experience at Marketing Birmingham, which manages the Visit Birmingham ‘Meet and Greet’ service, said: “Attracting in excess of three million visitors year on year, the Frankfurt Christmas Market is the pinnacle of the city’s festive calendar. The record number of bookings with our bespoke ‘Meet and Greet’ service shows that a personal welcome goes a long way – we aim to help visitors find their feet and provide a first class experience for those visiting the city, from the moment they arrive until they leave.
“With an internationally acclaimed dining scene, fantastic range of family attractions and world class shopping Birmingham is a great place to spend a festive break – the ‘Meet and Greet’ service is all about showcasing Birmingham’s fantastic Christmas offering to visitors, while also helping people to get the best out of their time in the city.
“We are still taking bookings for the Meet and Greet service and hope to welcome many more visitors on board in the lead up to Christmas!”
The ‘Meet and Greet’ service will run as part of the city’s festive campaign ‘Birmingham – Open for Christmas’, designed to target visitors to spend a weekend break in Birmingham during Christmas and New Year. The collaborative campaign celebrating the festive season in Birmingham and the wider region is led by Visit Birmingham and supported by a number of affiliate marketing partners including Retail Birmingham and rail operator London Midland. The campaign is in part funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and is part of a three year investment programme called ‘Growing Tourism Locally’, coordinated by the national tourist board VisitEngland.
To help visitors plan their festive celebrations in the city Visit Birmingham has launched a new microsite www.christmasinbirmingham.com, complete with day trip itineraries, online competitions, seasonal tips, event information and an interactive advent calendar during the countdown to Christmas.
Members of the Visitor Experience team will also be on site every day at the Frankfurt Christmas Market with a Visit Birmingham stall located at the Christmas Craft Fair in Chamberlain Square. Visitors will be able to stock up on a selection of affordable souvenirs and stocking fillers suitable for children and adults alike including Birmingham branded jumpers, t-shirts, stationary, toys and chinaware. Popular festive gifts also include a range of ‘I Heart Birmingham’ merchandise and a special Birmingham edition of the classic board game Monopoly.
The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market runs until Saturday 22nd December, 10am – 9pm. It remains the largest authentic German Market in the UK with 190 stalls selling traditional festive treats including mulled wine, beers, sausages, sweets, breads and pastries over a 1 mile footprint. Birmingham’s Christmas Craft Fair is located within the Frankfurt Market where traders sell festive gifts crafted by local artisans.
Bookings for Visit Birmingham’s ‘Meet and Greet’ service are still being taken. The service is available every day of the market from 10am until 1pm by pre-booking only and service is bookable by calling 0844 888 3883 or emailing email@example.com.
Visit Birmingham staff will also be on hand to help people visiting the city for the first time at Marketing Birmingham’s official Visitor Centres located on New Street, Central Library and Birmingham Airport.