Birmingham’s tourism sector witnessed its most successful year in history last year, with hotel revenue, visitors numbers and visitor spend, all standing at a record high.
The figures released today by the West Midlands Growth Company* and research body Global Tourism Solutions (GTS), reveal Birmingham welcomed 41.8 million visitors in 2017, with subsequent visitor spend reaching £7.1 billion – an increase of over nine percent in the space of a year. Average hotel occupancy stood at 75%, matching the previous record set in 2016, whilst RevPAR (revenue per available room) was £51 in value, the highest figure ever recorded.
The city welcomed the most tourists during September, a month that included major events such as the Natwest T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston Stadium and Birmingham’s largest outdoor festival, the 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 sub-sector to see the greatest increase in visitor numbers, up 12% on 2016.
The number of full-time equivalent jobs supported by the visitor economy has risen by 7.2% since 2016, from 70,635 to 75,748.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, commented:
"Tourism is a major part of the Birmingham economy, supporting thousands of jobs, and these outstanding figures underline the fact that 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. The visit marks the arrival of a prominent new tourism project to the area – England’s Waterways, supported by the Discover England Fund. The project, led by the West Midlands Growth Company, will inspire international visitors to explore the canal networks and surrounding cultural offer throughout Birmingham and the wider Midlands region.