Two of the Jewellery Quarter’s most famous faces have launched a guided tour company for visitors ‘who want to enjoy the quirkier side’ of the historic area.
Alternative Tours is aiming to attract organised groups to both the Jewellery Quarter and famous Balti Triangle by offering behind-the-scenes glimpses of working jewellers as well as visits to some of the area’s museums, galleries and historic locations. In the Balti Triangle the tours will include a cookery demonstration as well as an authentic Balti dish to taste.
The two people behind the venture are Andy Munro, previously regeneration director for the Jewellery Quarter and Anna Gibson of Creative Marketing.
Mr Munro worked in the Jewellery Quarter for more than ten years leading the renaissance of the area and has spoken at a number of international conferences on its regeneration. He has submitted an application to the EU for the area to receive TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) status.
He has also written numerous guides about the city’s Balti Triangle.
Mr Munro said: “Anna and myself felt that there was a gap in the market for people who want to enjoy the quirkier side of Birmingham rather than the usual marketing stereotype of the city which seems to just be about shopping where the highlight is ending the day with a pampering session in a franchised hotel.
“Alternative Tours is a commercial venture and has no funding from the public sector but, using the contacts that Anna and I have built up, we can provide a bespoke experience ranging from a cookery demo and tour of the Balti Triangle to a visit to the Jewellery Quarter to take a peek behind the scenes.
“The venture is aimed at groups between 15 and 50 and we hope will have a wide appeal ranging from well established groups like the Women’s Institute to local businesses who want to provide a unique experience for their VIPs/guests or team building/ social events for their staff.
“Two weeks ago we hosted a stag do for a curry loving bridegroom and in the next couple of weeks, in the Jewellery Quarter, we are entertaining an arts based group from The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies.”
Ms Gibson worked for many years in the destination marketing of Birmingham, focusing on the Jewellery Quarter. She said: “We’ve gained a vast reservoir of knowledge and contacts working in both areas with the added benefit of gathering an absolute treasure-trove of fascinating facts.
“We think that it’s about time visitors realised the uniqueness of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and Balti Triangle which can be a wonderful alternative to the city centre offer.”
The full-day Jewellery Quarter tours are able to cater for parties of between 15 and 50 and cost around £12 per person.
For more information on the tour options visit www.alternativetours.co.uk