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Birmingham's international visitor numbers reach all-time high

Birmingham attracted more international visits last year than ever before according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Research released yesterday (20th May) reports that there were 944,000 visits to the city last year by global guests. Consumer spend by foreign visitors has reached £300 million.

Birmingham has held its position as the fourth most visited city in the UK for the seventh year running, with London leading the table.  

Key highlights in the city’s 2014 calendar included Birmingham’s famous Frankfurt Christmas Market, which welcomed a record 5.5 million visitors last year. Leading sporting events in 2015, which are set to boost the city’s visitor numbers further, include the Rugby World Cup, England v Australia Ashes Test Match and the AEGON Classic tennis tournament.  

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:   “These figures are great news for Birmingham, confirming the city’s international standing and appeal.   

“It is particularly pleasing to see Birmingham consolidate its ranking amongst UK cities – we are now very much on the map with global visitors thanks to an outstanding tourism offering.  

“As many of the city’s most significant development schemes including New Street station near completion, we look forward to the number of visitors increasing throughout 2015 and beyond.”  

The city’s strong tourist appeal was further boosted in 2014 by a high proportion of international business visitors. Birmingham and Manchester were the only two of the top 20 UK destinations to see the majority of their international visitors come for business purposes.  

In recent months, Birmingham has continued to target key global visitor markets. Working closely with Birmingham Airport and tourism bodies VisitBritain and VisitEngland, the city has welcomed delegations from USA, China and Iceland to launch new air routes, and also attended trade exhibitions in the Asia Pacific region and Germany.  

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services for the city’s leisure and business tourism programmes Visit Birmingham and Meet Birmingham, said:  

“Birmingham’s reputation for food, retail, festivals and events is greater than ever, and this is reflected by today’s figures. We have seen continued international growth since 2012, with the size of our global visitor market increasing by a third – this is faster than any other UK city.  

“We have been actively promoting Birmingham more widely than ever before, targeting markets with large numbers of potential visitors, such as China and India.    

“Global competition to attract tourists is as fierce as ever, and we are determined to maintain this positive momentum with a packed calendar in 2015.”

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