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Unlikely tourist hotspot is Birmingham

The Car Hire Birmingham Airport team are a little shocked at the latest statistic figures which put the city near the top of tourist destinations most visited. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed Birmingham has emerged as an unlikely tourist hotspot according to figures published recently. More than 940,000 travellers ventured to the city, ranking it fourth behind London, Edinburgh and Manchester.

It is believed the surge in tourists is down to the area’s rich industrial heritage and strong air links. If the city experiences a similar surge next year, it will overtake Manchester.

Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, said “We have retail, shopping, arts and culture. Birmingham is at the edge of the Shakespeare country and has a rich industrial heritage. We want to make Birmingham the alternative gateway to Britain – a place outside London where visitors can start their trip. The great battle in tourism is not just volume, its value – to get visitors to spend more and to stay longer. The only way you can do that is by giving them alternatives to London. While the capital has a fantastic visitor offer, arguably one of the best in the world, if visitors are given choices beyond they will stay longer and spend more money.”

Overseas visitors for the whole of Britain increased to 32.8 million, with 8 million being business travellers who injected £5 billion into the economy. Shortly VisitBritain will be launching two new reports about spreading the benefits of regional tourism outside of London.

Patricia Yates, director of strategy at the tourism organisation, said “We need to encourage people to come back time after time, which in turn will mean our visitors venture out across Britain. London is the global superstar of tourism destinations, a city that all around the world people want to visit. Because of this, we need to make sure we are inspiring them on the Britain-wide offering and informing on how easy it is to travel across the country in such a short space of time. Encouragingly, we are starting to see results. Edinburgh and Glasgow are now in second and third place behind London for the total number of overseas holiday visitors they welcome and international spend to the Rest of England and Scotland grew by 15% and 20% in 2013 respectively.”