Birmingham named UK's fastest growing tourist destination

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Birmingham Weekender arts festival
Birmingham Weekender arts festival

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Birmingham saw the largest increase in international visits outside London last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A total of 1.1m foreign tourists arrived in the Midlands city in 2015, up 17 per cent on 2014.

This means it is now the fourth most visited place in the UK, with an extra 163,000 people arriving last year.

The figures follow a series of marketing campaigns in Germany, India and China designed to boost Birmingham’s appeal overseas.

The city gained its fifth Michelin-starred restaurant Carters of Mosley last year​ and opened a £50m Park Regis hotel​ just six years after it gained its first five-star hotel.

Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “With over £1bn of investment in the region last year, Greater Birmingham is experiencing record levels of growth.

“Birmingham is a city of progress and changes to its physical and economic landscapes will continue.”

Food and travel destination

Travellers spent a total of £386m in the city in 2015, up £87m on 2014.

Robin Ford, general manager at the Park Regis Birmingham, said the increasing demand for bedrooms provided a ‘welcome boost’ to the hospitality sector.

“The city now has more to offer than ever before, with direct flights to Birmingham Airport from more cities around the world, as well as thriving retail, food and arts scenes helping boost tourism,” said Ford.

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“As one of the city’s newest hotels, and the first of our brand in Europe, we are prepared to greet an even larger number of international visitors throughout 2016.”

There was also a sharp rise in the number of people visiting for business purposes, with 619,000 workers entering Birmingham last year.

In recent months the city has welcomed media delegations from Japan, South Africa, Iceland and Belgium in order to further ‘showcase its offer on the world stage’.

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