Perceptions of Birmingham as a tourist destination have improved by almost a third in five years, according to the city’s marketing agency.

A study of more than 8,000 visitors by Marketing Birmingham showed shopping as the most popular activity for tourists visiting the city.

Just over half of respondants came to the city for its food and drink offer, while over a third came for an event or festival.

Birmingham’s visitor economy has grown over the last six years and now stands at £4.9 billion, supporting 60,000 jobs.

Visitor numbers hit a high of 33.5 million in 2011.

Of those surveyed more than three quarters are planning to visit the city for a day trip, overnight stay or as part of a touring holiday and of those that visited in the last year more than a third are set to return for an overnight stay.

Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, said: “More needs to be done to attract international tourists to the city and we have a targeted strategy to increase visitor numbers from key markets such as the USA, China and Europe.”