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Birmingham aims for the podium of international arrivals in the UK

While the best players in the tennis world are gathered in Birmingham for the annual tournament before Wimbledon, tourism statistics of the country's second city also charge the net. A new attendance record is expected in 2015, after 944,000 foreign visitors recorded last year, which was already a record for the city.

Neck and neck with Manchester for the bronze medal of UK's tourist destinations, Birmingham announced rising attendance statistics between 2013 and 2014. The National Statistics Office estimated at 944,000 the number of international visitors against 941,000 in 2013, which is a new record. Although the city is once again the fourth international destination of the country, Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council is delighted: "This is good news for Birmingham. This confirms the international standing of the city". Spending by foreign tourists reached 300 million pounds in 2014.



Logically, hotel performances improved if we look more closely at the MKG Hospitality data. According to the European Hospitality Report 2015 (see), the occupancy rate in the city reached 72.7% last year, a three point increase compared to the previous year. And with an average price increasing by 4.8%, the revenue per available room rose by 9.3%.

The city enjoys a business destination reputation and hopes to improve its leisure segment. "We are very active in promoting Birmingham, targeting markets with large numbers of potential visitors, such as China and India" said Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services for Visit Birmingham.

2015, already a good year for tourism

Hotel trends are already on the rise for the first four months of the year. Revenue per available room is skyrocketing: +17.8% in January, +10% in February, +8.1% in March and +10.5% in April. The economy segment is omnipresent in the city. Travelodge and Premier Inn represent respectively 13.6% and 11% of the overall chain supply. Especially since, to improve the quality of the supply, the city could count on the reopening of the four-star Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC (242 rooms), pending the future Radisson Blu Birmingham Airport (220 rooms) scheduled for 2017.



The city will also be able to rely on leisure-type events this year. Its Villa Park stadium (42,000 seats) was selected for the rugby World Cup. Two meetings are scheduled there* with each time one of the competition's favorites. South Africa will confront the Samoan haka on September 26. The next day, Australia will challenge the Uruguayan outsider. An increase in the number of foreign visitors is expected, especially since the football season will return as of August. Aston Villa, only club in the city in the first division, narrowly avoided relegation.

The club will then be ready for Premier League, which represents a significant financial windfall for English football tourism as it is increasingly international. Moreover, the endowment of the WTA tennis tournament that is played in Birmingham this week continues to increase. 731,000 dollars at stake against $ 710,000 last year and $ 235,000 two years ago. Inevitably, this attracts the best players of the circuit and therefore improves attendance. You'll understand that this year the competition on the field of international sports tourism looks fierce.

*Manchester (see our report) will host, for its part, only one game, which is in contrast a match of the national team.

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