Birmingham visitor figures hit record high

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Birmingham attracted a record 34 million visitors last year, according to new figures released by Marketing Birmingham’s research arm the Regional Observatory and tourism research body, Global Tourism Solutions.

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These record visitor figures have seen more jobs created in a sector that continues to drive both local and national economic growth.

The STEAM report, produced annually to assess the economic impact of visitors to the UK’s major cities, also revealed that the amount of money spent by visitors to Birmingham last year hit £5.34bn, up £60 million on 2012’s total of £5.28bn. This increased spend helped to create an additional 2,100 jobs for the city and surrounding region – up 3% to 63,675 jobs.

Since 2006, the number of people visiting Birmingham has gone up by 12% (3.6 million), with the value of the city’s visitor economy increasing by 20% (8.8 billion).

Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“The impact of Birmingham's many wonderful attractions continues to bring wealth and growth to the region. These record visitor figures have seen more jobs created in a sector that continues to drive both local and national economic growth.

“More people than ever are choosing to spend their leisure time here; our continued investment in transport links, infrastructure and marketing have all contributed to this ongoing success.”

Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive and Chairman of Marketing Birmingham, added:
“This growth in visitor numbers is great news for everyone connected with the city and is a clear sign that Birmingham has now become a world-class tourist destination. This is evidence that the partnerships we have put in place to promote the city, both in the UK and overseas, are really paying off.

“As a gateway to the region, Birmingham Airport has a vital role to play in ensuring this trend continues. The recent introduction of new routes to European destinations, the planned expansion on existing routes to Delhi and Amritsar and becoming the first UK airport outside of London to welcome a series of direct charter flights from Beijing, are all key departure points for inbound tourists, which is more great news for the city.

“Greater connectivity and the continued drive by the Airport, Marketing Birmingham and other key tourism partners to put the city and region on the map will ensure that Birmingham’s tourism figures will keep on climbing in the right direction.”

The new figures come as VisitEngland, the national tourist board, reveals the latest results of its three-year project, ‘Growing Tourism Locally’, which in its second year has to date generated a total of £416 million additional tourism spend and created 7,744 additional jobs for the sector.

The project, funded by £19.8m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and with a total investment of £41.6m including contributions from VisitEngland and the private sector, is aimed at inspiring UK residents to take more holidays at home. It plans to stimulate employment to grow jobs in the tourism sector by 9,139 over the three year period to March 2015.

Tourism Minister Helen Grant said:
“The tourism industry is making a huge contribution to economic growth and job creation. These fantastic results show the government’s investment in the industry is helping to generate additional tourism spend and creating thousands of new jobs across the country.”

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Tom Marlow
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