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Culture crown would significantly boost city tourism

Subscribe to RSS RSSThursday, 8th April, 2010

UK City of Culture status will make Birmingham a ‘must visit’ tourist destination in 2013, attracting millions of additional visitors to the city.

And Chairman of the Birmingham Cultural Partnership, Cllr Martin Mullaney, is confident securing the crown would have a dramatic impact on how the city is seen across the UK.

Studies of Liverpool’s year as European City of Culture show an additional 9.7 million visitors were attracted to Merseyside in 2008 (35 per cent of overall visits).

These visits generated an economic impact of £753.8 million (additional direct visitor spend) across Liverpool, Merseyside and the wider North West region.

That translated into an additional 1.14 million staying visitor nights in Liverpool hotels, 1.29 million in the rest of Merseyside and 1.7 million in the rest of the North West.

The UK City of Culture crown is estimated to be worth £200 million to the Birmingham economy and Cllr Martin Mullaney, Chairman of the Birmingham Cultural Partnership, says the city’s tourist economy would clearly be one of the major winners.

He said: “Though these figures relate to Liverpool’s year as the European City of Culture, you can obviously draw parallels between the two titles and, as this will be the first UK City of Culture, the European title offers the best guide to the huge potential economic benefits.

“Liverpool experienced a 34 per cent rise in visitors, with almost 28 million people visiting the city in 2008. A similar rise in Birmingham would represent a significant boost for our hotels, bars, restaurants, theatres and other attractions.”

Cllr Mullaney is also confident being named UK City of Culture would improve national perceptions of Birmingham.

He added: “Of course much of the focus for the year would be on cultural events and initiatives but we could expect an overall increase in positive media coverage – Liverpool saw positive coverage in the national press increase by 71 per cent from 2007 to 2008.

“We have a lot to be proud of here in Birmingham and our exciting plans would undoubtedly put the city under a national and international spotlight if we were named the UK’s first City of Culture.

“This is our opportunity to show people the real Birmingham – a modern, diverse, creative and vibrant city.”