Emma Gray, Marketing Birmingham’s Director of Marketing, summarises for ITCMI can’t count the number of people who have told me their destinations are very central and so very conveniently accessible from all directions. However, this claim has to be taken seriously when it is made by Emma Gray, Dir of Marketing Services of Marketing Birmingham. You can’t get more central in the UK than Birmingham, the middle of The Midlands.
And Birmingham is making more and more use of its location, providing more facilities for delegates to travel and to meet.
‘There are substantial investments in MICE and travel facilities’, she summarises, ‘and they will all contribute to making smoother, easier and more cost-effective events’.
New Street Station’s modernisation improves a focal point for rail travel in the UK and, of course, Birmingham is a major hub for the planned high speed rail link, the HS2. An extension is bringing the regional line, the Midland Metro, into the city centre,
Birmingham Airport is adding 30 new destinations to its services and is still the only UK airport outside London with direct flights from Beijing. Birmingham Airport has a team of Airport Gurus who are able to assist travel agents and tour operators to locate anything they need or to solve any type of problem for arrivals and departures.
‘The result is’, says Emma, ‘that in terms of all visitors, business and tourist, Birmingham has had the largest increase in foreign visitors of any destination in Britain. We are receiving as many as 33% more year on year. They are using us as a gateway into the UK and Europe, but they are also coming in order to get to know more about Birmingham and its region’.
The word ‘region’ is important because Birmingham is central and convenient for some of the UK’s most famous visitor attractions. ‘It is close, for example, ‘ says Emma, ‘to Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon, the beautiful university city of Oxford and the glorious landscape and picturesque villages of the Cotswold Hills.’
Talking more directly about the MICE sector, Emma cannot omit the Vox Conference Centre. It is a remarkable new facility set in the £150m development called Resorts World Birmingham. This is an integrated leisure, entertainment, hotel and shopping complex of the kind that has proved extremely successful in North America and Asia.
This is a substantial new addition to the region’s event facilities, which already boasts the UK’s largest conference and exhibition facilities at the NEC and the ICC.
‘Birmingham is expanding and improving a wide range of facilities’, Emma concludes, ‘and organisers should ensure they visit us often in order to keep up to date on what we can offer’.