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Birmingham promotes year of celebrations to international visitors at global trade event

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services, Marketing Birmingham
Birmingham is extending its 2015 celebrations to an international audience this month, as the city prepares to welcome record numbers of visitors in what is anticipated to be its busiest year for a decade.  
The city’s leisure tourism programme, Visit Birmingham, will be promoting the city to leading international travel experts at the Destination Britain APMEA 2015 (11th – 14th May), a key tourism trade event attracting more than 120 delegates from 19 countries across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.  

As it gears up for celebrations including major retail launches and international sporting events, Birmingham will offer visitors more diverse and exciting experiences than ever before.  

The city is already famed for its exceptional shopping offer, including independent boutiques, global brands, and niche retailers in the world-famous Jewellery Quarter. Birmingham is set to offer even more in 2015, as £800 million of retail investment is realised with a range of new openings.  

The arrival of new shopping destinations include Resorts World, a £150 million integrated leisure and entertainment complex. Nike and Gap Outlet will become anchor tenants at its 50-unit outlet centre, which opens in September.  

Birmingham’s retail revolution will reach its peak during September. This includes the £50 million redevelopment of luxury shopping destination The Mailbox, with high-end retailer Harvey Nichols doubling in size; a £20 million refurbishment of the Bullring’s famed premium department store Selfridges; and the launch of the £600 million Grand Central shopping development and its £35 million anchor store, John Lewis.  

Birmingham will become the only regional UK city to have a Selfridges, a Harvey Nichols and a John Lewis – offering an unrivalled luxury shopping experience outside the Capital.  

This year also sees Birmingham play host to major international sporting events. Over 100,000 cricket fans are expected to descend on the city for the Third Ashes test at Edgbaston Stadium this July between England and Australia – while New Zealand is playing a One Day International against England in June.  

The Rugby World Cup also arrives in Birmingham in September, with matches at Villa Park featuring famous rugby nations South Africa, Australia and Samoa. Birmingham will be buzzing with rugby fever during 18th – 27th September, as the 2015 Fanzone brings the biggest celebration of rugby ever held in the city.  

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Visit Birmingham, the city’s leisure tourism programme, said: “This year is Birmingham’s busiest and most exciting in over a decade. With so much going on, there has never been a better time to visit the city and experience the famously warm Birmingham welcome.  

“The city is attracting record visitor numbers, with over 33 million people coming here to experience everything Birmingham has to offer. We anticipate visitor levels to reach an all-time high in 2015 as new routes into Birmingham Airport and the £600 million transformation of New Street Station further improve the city’s excellent transport links.  

“Already one of the top three places in Britain for shopping, with consumer spending hitting over £1.6 billion last year, retail investment into Birmingham will this year exceed £800 million. This, together with a calendar filled with festivals, international sporting events and cultural celebrations, means that the city has more to offer than ever before. We look forward to sharing the celebrations with visitors from all over the world.”

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