Marketing Birmingham is the organisation briefed to bring together a range of partnerships to boost the city.

Chief executive Neil Rami says its strategy is for Birmingham "to be seen as the leading global events city, a knowledge capital and an international destination of choice".

He adds: "It is our role to continually improve national and international perceptions of the city, which we do by running high profile marketing and PR activities. These are based on the city’s competitive strengths of being the nation’s natural meeting place, the youngest city in Europe and a cosmopolitan city."

The organisation is running a string of lifestyle campaigns which have tailored objectives. He adds: "With Bites we want Birmingham to be considered as a culinary destination by 2008. With fashion we want to be seen as a stylish European shopping destination by 2010 and when we launch our sport campaign, our marketing platform is to position Birmingham as Europe’s number one city for participation and spectating.

"The campaigns have legs and are not about a quick bang for the buck, they are about long terms perception change."

He said the campaign objectives were based on improving "perception scores" in annual surveys.

More than 2,000 people are surveyed some of whom have been to Birmingham once and not returned, some have never even visited the city others are frequent visitors for either business or leisure.

Mr Rami said: "They are asked for their views on the Birmingham lifestyle and how they rate places to visit, shopping facilities, arts and culture and nightlife. What is clear is that people who have been to the city like it. Those that haven’t often have views based in the past."

The organisation also track shifts in perception by positive media coverage - Mr Rami said had to date "secured #8 million worth of coverage for the city."

He said: "The list of celebrities - Jamelia, Aldo Zilli, Maureen Lipman and Jeremy Clarkson amongst others who have been quoted in lifestyle press with positive comments on their experiences are also growing, levering the city’s profile even more."