Booming Birmingham pulled in almost 750,000 more visitors last year – and now business leaders are banking on the ‘Bolt effect’ to attract even more.
New figures revealed the city attracted 33.5 million tourists in 2011, up 740,000 on the previous year.
Visitors to Birmingham spent a combined £4.9 billion, up from the 2010 mark of £4.8 billion, with the cash creating an extra 2,126 jobs in and around the city.
Now a campaign has been launched to build on that success after Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion Usain Bolt thanked Birmingham for its role as Jamaica’s pre-Games training camp base.
Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore said: “Birmingham’s visitor offer, and its impact on the city’s economy, continues to grow.
“Visitor numbers are at a six-year peak and visitor spend has seen more jobs created in a sector that has become a driver of local – and national – economic growth.
“Birmingham is really upping its game as a visitor destination. The figures show more people are choosing to spend their leisure time here – consistently and year on year. This is due in no small part to continued investment in our infrastructure, transport networks and marketing of our diverse visitor economy around the world.”
Marketing Birmingham chief executive Neil Rami said: “Birmingham has a strong visitor economy that is delivering economic and reputational returns.
“The city’s visitor numbers – and their economic impact – are at a high, building on similar positive results last year.
“Despite challenging economic conditions and pressures on disposable incomes, more visitors than ever are opting to take a break in Birmingham – reflecting the quality, diversity and strength of our offer.
“Birmingham has performed incredibly well in recent years and now, with the afterglow of London 2012, we are looking forward to a further boost.”
Birmingham was placed firmly in the Olympic spotlight when Bolt, his fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, as well as Team GB’s own double gold medal-winner Mo Farah all praised the city.
Now Visit Birmingham has launched the #BigupBirmingham campaign, asking people to celebrate the city.