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Music tourism generates £271 million for West Midlands

Crowd at Barclaycard Arena
UK Music has released the 2016 edition of the Wish You Were Here Report.  Created on behalf of UK Music and its members, the report highlights the contribution of live music and music tourism to the UK economy, with some impressive results for the West Midlands (WM) concert industry.

The total spend generated by music tourism in the West Midlands hit £271 million in 2015 – a £7 million increase on 2014.  

Comparing year on year figures (2014 and 2015) the concert industry in particular saw a noticeable growth in the number of WM music tourists with 230,000 more travelling to venues in the region.  

The most significant growth was the amount spent directly by music tourists in the WM, with an 82% increase year on year, the equivalent of £50 million.  This can be attributed to a range of purchases including tickets, merchandise, accommodation and food and beverage.   

The WM job sector has also experienced a noticeable boost, with the demand of music tourism, actively sustaining 1,232 full time jobs in the region- a 56% increase on 2014’s figure.  

General Manager of the NEC Group Arenas, Guy Dunstan, said: “The results from the UK Music report tally with a noticeable growth in arena enquires from promoters; Birmingham is an attractive routing destination for the domestic touring market as well as international artists and their promoters, bringing with them great benefits to the West Midlands economy.  

“With an ever-increasing demand for live music and a healthy number and variety events already booked for 2016/17, we’re hoping for another strong year for the NEC Group Arenas.”  

The Barclaycard Arena and Genting Arena in Birmingham, two of the largest venues in the region, attracted over a million people in 2015, with performances from some of the biggest artists in the world including Lionel Ritchie, McBusted, Take That, Florence + The Machine and One Direction.  The Script’s concert in February 2015 hosted the single, largest audience capacity of the year, hosting 15,443 concert goers in one night.  

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Birmingham, said:   "The city’s diverse array of festivals including Moseley Folk and the International Jazz Festival, combined with world-class venues including the NEC, Barclaycard Arena, Genting Arena and the Symphony Hall, have created the perfect breeding ground to nurture and promote musical ingenuity.  

"Birmingham received 1.1 million international tourists in 2015, largely fuelled by the strength of its arts and culture. The areas reputation as a thriving music hotspot is now growing even further, with major events like the BBC Music Awards taking place here last year - drawing in thousands of music enthusiasts and artists such as Jess Glynne, Mumford & Sons and One Direction. This report confirms just how much music tourism can boost local employment and stimulate the wider economy."

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