Birmingham retains lead for quality of life
Birmingham has been ranked as having the highest quality of life of any UK city outside of the capital, by the Mercer Quality of Living Report 2014.
The city placed jointly with Rome, seeing off global competition from hotspots Los Angeles and Dubai. Birmingham and Rome were ranked in 51st place. Its nearest UK rivals included Glasgow (54th), Aberdeen (56th) and Belfast (63rd).
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“It comes as no surprise that Birmingham has retained its position as the best city to live in the UK outside the capital. Our city has an incredible offering for those who live, work and visit here.
“From shopping to science, food to festivals, culture to conferences, Birmingham is fast becoming top of many international visitor lists and growing in stature as a place to live and work.”
The city’s retail, attractions, food scene, arts, culture and events are all key draws according to research from Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory. Reflected in campaigns to boost visitor numbers by Visit and Meet Birmingham, the number of people coming into the area for a visit is at a record high of 33.8million.
The city’s festive offering was a recent highlight with the ‘Christmas now trending in Birmingham’ push by Visit Birmingham helping boost local hotel bookings. Online travel agent Expedia has announced that the city was the world’s fastest growing Christmas and New Year’s Eve destination, with bookings up by 118% over the festive period.
The Mercer ranking comes as it was revealed that the number of visitors to the area who planned to return again within 12 months had reached a seven year high, according to a survey by TNS. The annual TNS visitor survey, which assesses reasons for visiting, found that arts, culture and science were growing motivators. The city will host the British Science Festival as part of the 2014 Birmingham Year of Science, a celebration of its innovative past and technology fuelled future with events taking place across the city.
Ian Taylor, Commercial Director of Marketing Birmingham – which operates the city’s leisure and business tourism programmes, Visit and Meet Birmingham – as well as inward investment programme Business Birmingham, said:
“Birmingham’s visitors contribute more than £5billion every year to our local economy. Tourism is a huge part of our success as a city. In attracting visitors here and providing them with a warm welcome and entertaining experience, we are creating ambassadors who can spread the word and help us boost our profile and economy even further.”
The most popular activities listed by visitors to the city were shopping; visiting major attractions; the food scene; and arts and culture according to Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory. Highly rated attractions included the Black Country Living Museum, Library of Birmingham and West Midlands Safari Park.
Last year, Birmingham welcomed visitors from all over the globe with more than 50 festivals taking place in the city. 2014 looks to build on this momentum with the return of the popular biennial International Dance Festival Birmingham; the 50th anniversary of the Ikon Gallery; the first Wireless Festival in Birmingham; and the launch of two new attractions – the Ice Adventure at the National Sea Life Centre and Newman Brothers’ Coffin Works, which re-opens later this year as a heritage museum.
Madeleine Tye, Cluster Director Birmingham of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, which operates Hotel Indigo Birmingham, Hampton by Hilton Birmingham Broad Street, Holiday Inn Express Birmingham Snow Hill and Ibis Styles Lionel Street, said:
“Over the last two and a half years, we have opened three new hotels in Birmingham, offering more than 680 extra bedrooms for visitors to the region.
“This demonstrates that increasing volumes of people are choosing Birmingham and the wider region as the destination for their next city break or conference – with their positive experiences leading to more becoming repeat visitors, whether as a tourist or on business.”
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