Second city welcomed 42m visitors last year
BIRMINGHAM tourism saw its most successful year in history with hotel revenue, visitors numbers and spending hitting record highs in 2017, according to new research.
The figures revealed that Birmingham welcomed 41.8 million visitors in 2017, with subsequent visitor spend reaching £7.1 billion – an increase of more than nine per cent in the space of a year.
Average hotel occupancy stood at 75 per cent, matching the previous record set in 2016, while revenue per available room was £51 in value, the highest figure ever recorded.
The report has been produced by inward investment body the West Midlands Growth Compa- ny and research firm Global Tourism Solutions. Birmingham welcomed the most tourists during September, a month that included the Natwest T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston Stadium and the city’s largest outdoor arts festival Birmingham Weekender.
The region’s literary heritage was celebrated as 2017 marked the 80th anniversary of JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel The Hobbit. Heritage was also the sector to see the greatest increase in visitor numbers, up 12 per cent on 2016.
The number of full-time equivalent jobs supported by the visitor economy has risen by 7.2 per cent since 2016, from 70,635 to 75,748.
Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Tourism is a major part of the Birmingham economy, support- ing thousands of jobs, and these outstanding figures underline the fact this city is now a major tourist destination, with a growing profile on the global stage.
“Increasing numbers of visitors come to Birmingham every year and many return time and time again, thanks to our arts and culture, our fantastic food, our sporting offer and because they know they are guaranteed a warm welcome.”
The announcement of the latest figures coincides with a visit to the region from Michael Ellis, minister for arts, heritage and tourism.
His visit marked the arrival of a prominent new tourism project to the area called England’s Waterways, supported by the Discover England Fund.
The project, led by the West Midlands Growth Company, is aiming to inspire international visitors to explore the canal networks and surrounding cultural offer throughout Birmingham and the wider Midlands region.
Mr Ellis added: “Birmingham is one the UK’s leading destinations, with excellent attractions, nightlife and hospitality.
“Following the hugely successful Commonwealth Games handover and the arrival of Dippy the Diplodocus, this positive tourism trend looks set to continue well into the future.
“The wider Midlands region boasts a charming canal network surrounded by vibrant green spaces and unique heritage attractions.
“We are pleased to be helping to attract even more people to experience these picturesque waterways through our Discover England Fund.”
> Birmingham welcomed the most tourists in September, during the Natwest T20 Finals Day and arts festival Birmingham Weekender, above