Birmingham attracted one million international visitors last year, setting a new record for inbound tourism to the Midlands city.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data highlights that the city is the fourth most visited place in the UK by global guests with an increase of 163,000 visitors, 17.3% up on the figure for 2014 (944,000). For the second consecutive year, this was the largest increase for any city outside London.
Consumer spend by foreign visitors reached £386 million – an increase of £87 million on 2014 figures. Similarly, this was the fourth highest of any UK city and only 8% lower than London.
Notably, the research also indicates that the city’s strong tourist appeal was further enhanced in 2015 by a high proportion of international business visitors. With 619,000 visits recorded, Birmingham again saw the highest growth of any city outside London. This is 120,000 (19.4%) up on the figure for 2014 (499,000) and the largest rise of any UK regional city.
Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “These figures are great news for Birmingham, confirming the city’s international standing and growing appeal. More people are discovering Birmingham and its surrounding areas than ever before.
“With over £1billion of investment in the region in the last year, Greater Birmingham is experiencing record levels of growth. These have included the New Street station transport hub, the integrated leisure and entertainment complex Resorts World Birmingham based at the NEC, luxury retail centre The Mailbox and high end shopping destination Grand Central.
“Birmingham is a city of progress and changes to its physical and economic landscapes will continue.”