BIRMINGHAM VISITOR FIGURES HIT RECORD HIGH
- Visitor numbers to the city hit 34 million for first time
- Birmingham visitor economy now worth record £5.34 billion
- Increased visitor numbers help create extra 2,100 jobs
- 12% rise in visitor numbers since 2006
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.
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).
Councillor 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.”
Visit Birmingham is the city's official leisure tourism programme for Birmingham, part of Marketing Birmingham's destination marketing strategy. As one of the top visitor cities in the UK, attracting 34 million visitors a year, Birmingham is a must-visit leisure destination for all. It is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Investing in the City Region project.
Marketing Birmingham, the city's strategic marketing partnership, operates the city's leisure and business tourism programmes - Visit and Meet Birmingham - as well as its inward investment programme, Business Birmingham. The company is funded by the public and private sectors, including Birmingham City Council, European Regional Development Funding through its Investing in the City Region project and some 400 local companies.
? VisitEngland is the country's national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors. Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics.
? England is a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism. It represents 84 per cent of the total UK visitor economy, is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.
? For corporate information see www.visitengland.org and for consumer information see www.visitengland.com
About 'Growing Tourism Locally' - a Regional Growth Fund Tourism Investment Project
? In October 2011 VisitEngland's application to the Government's Regional Growth Fund was approved by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). £19.8 million was awarded to deliver a three year partner marketing project entitled 'Growing Tourism Locally'.
? This project aims to stimulate the domestic visitor market to grow local economies through increased tourism activity by UK residents. The project enables VisitEngland to work in partnership to facilitate growth at a local level, further amplifying the second Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign that was launched in March this year.
? The project 'Growing Tourism Locally' has the potential to create the equivalent of 9,139 full time jobs across England and is focussed on supporting areas that are currently dependent on the public sector for employment to transition to private sector-led growth and prosperity where tourism can be a key contributor.
? The RGF funding is matched with private sector funding at national and local levels to create a project of £41million over 3 years to March 2015.
About Regional Growth Fund
? The Government's Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England to grow. It supports projects and programmes committed to leveraging private investment and delivering sustainable jobs. Round 6 is now open. For more information, including Round 6 regional roadshow dates, please go to www.bis.gov.uk/rgf. The round closes 30 September.