Birmingham is climbing the UK league tables in attracting international visitors – knocking Glasgow down a notch by taking fourth place.
According to the Office for National Statistics, Birmingham had a nine per cent rise in overseas visitors last year to reach 763,000. It narrowed the gap with higher-placed Manchester, Edinburgh and London, all of whom had falls in international visitors. Glasgow is now in fifth place. The figures also show that international travellers spent £257 million in the city during 2008, up from £180 million the year before.
Not only did Birmingham attract more overseas visitors but they stayed longer and spent much more in the city than in the previous year. According to the ONS’ Travel Trends report, the nights overseas visitors spent in Birmingham was five million, up from 2007’s 3.39. Again, the city closed the gap with London, Manchester and Edinburgh, each having falls in overnight stays and spend.
Marketing Birmingham chairman Paul Kehoe said: “These independent government figures show just how far Birmingham’s attraction and reputation as a truly global city has risen. The rises were due to the more effective marketing of the city overseas, increased number of economy flights to Birmingham International Airport, and increased attraction of Birmingham as a shopping, heritage and leisure destination because of the relatively low value of the pound. Birmingham is, increasingly, becoming a city of choice among international visitors.”