Bumper year predicted for Birmingham tourism

Marketing experts expect record numbers of visitors in 2015.

Birmingham is gearing up for record numbers of tourists with Marketing Birmingham, which promotes the area as a leisure and business tourism destination, predicting 2015 will be a bumper year for the region.

The city saw record visitor numbers last year with 34 million coming to the area and spending more than £5 billion. Marketing Birmingham believes that with a growing offer and more promotional work planned, 2015 could be a bumper year for visitor numbers and spend.

​Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Marketing Birmingham, said: “Visitors from far and wide are being drawn to the Birmingham area, with an upward trend over the last six years culminating in record figures over the past two. Our retail offer, foodie credentials and vast array of heritage attractions, sites and landscapes have broad appeal and we have seen growing interest from foreign markets. The US and China top the charts of our international visitors, with both markets bringing a powerful spend and economic boost to the area.

“Last year Birmingham saw the largest increase of international visitors in the UK, growing its market share by 32%, compared to the capital’s growth of just 8.9%. During this period, the city also attracted 10% more visitors from the BRIC countries, demonstrating that the area has significant appeal to overseas visitors in affluent growth markets”.

Gray added: “The year ahead is hugely exciting for Birmingham from a tourism perspective. Our retail offer is set to be boosted by new openings in Grand Central and John Lewis, as well as the redevelopment of the Mailbox and refurbishment at Selfridges. Major events such as Rugby World Cup games and a high profile England V Australia Ashes Test Match are also set to bring in the crowds.

“With so much being added to our already popular offer next year, we expect 2015 to be our best yet!”

The Birmingham area’s tourism offer has been promoted across four key markets including Asia, North America, Europe and Australia over the last four years. Marketing Birmingham has worked with local partners including Aston Villa, Cadbury World and many of the region’s cultural and heritage attractions to support the area’s growth as a must-visit destination.

The influential Rough Guide series named Birmingham in its top 10 global cities of 2015, backing previous ‘must-visit’ endorsements from The New York Times and New York Magazine.

VisitBritain, the national tourism body, predicts that 2015 will see a spending surge from international visitors to the UK, with Chinese visitors leading the way. Spending by overseas visitors is expected to top £22bn for the first time in 2015. Chinese visitors spent £492 million in 2013, up from £184 million in 2010.

VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said tourism would continue to be one of the country’s major export earners. “One of our priorities for 2015 will be to inspire international visits to the nations and regions and showcase Britain’s magnificent countryside.”