Birmingham set to soar with Indian market
- New Air India flight now operating four times weekly to Delhi
- City looks to grow visitor share of Indian market
- Birmingham boasts strong visitor offer for Indian travellers
Birmingham’s new Air India flight, now operating four times weekly between Birmingham Airport and Delhi, will see improved services for visitors as the city looks to build its growing Indian tourist market.
With some 13,500 people visiting Birmingham from India each year, the West Midlands remains the most popular region outside of the South East for Indian tourists. The newly launched Air India service will help the city to boost its share of the lucrative South Asian visitor market, fuelled by India’s growing middle class who will take an estimated half a million tourist trips to Britain each year by 2020.
As home to nearly 65,000 residents of Indian ethnic origin, visiting friends and relatives currently represent nearly half of Indian visitors to the city. With partners, Marketing Birmingham is working to build on this market, raising the city’s profile overseas as a tourism destination through targeted campaigns and attendance at key trade shows.
Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham – which operates leisure tourism programme Visit Birmingham – said:
Birmingham has a proud reputation as one of the most diverse cities in Europe and is home to a large, rapidly growing Indian population.
With friends and families representing a large proportion of visitors, we are now looking to grow the number of Indian tourists, who are typically keen to travel to destinations with a wealth of history, culture and good quality food and drink.
Securing a direct flight route to the Indian capital is a major step for Birmingham, and the result of much hard work by citywide partners to promote the area’s potential for the airline.
News of Air India’s investment comes at a time when Birmingham’s international standing is at an all time high. We must now continue to develop our global profile – promoting the city overseas is vital to securing more international routes and building the city’s reputation as a European hub for tourism.
Attracting new international air routes is part of the city’s ongoing strategy to build on the record 33.8million visitors that came to Birmingham in 2012. The city’s strategic marketing partnership has worked with Birmingham Airport at events such as Routes Asia in Mumbai to position Birmingham as an ideal destination for global airlines. The new Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ service – the first of its kind outside the capital – will see up to 1,024 additional passengers travel to Birmingham each week.
Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said:
Birmingham is the first city outside of London to operate a dedicated scheduled Boeing 787 Dreamliner service. This statement of confidence from Air India sends a clear signal that Birmingham is a great destination for not only business, but also leisure, visitors.
Our regular services to Delhi will encourage more Indian visitors to travel to the city and experience our great culture, using Birmingham Airport as their gateway to the rest of the UK.
As the home of the balti, and a growing centre for Bollywood, Birmingham enjoys strong cultural links with India. This year, the city held its first festival of Indian cinema ‘Bollywood 100 in Birmingham’, featuring 19 arts events across 21 days, and is increasingly taking the spotlight as a Bollywood location – with Tezz and Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 recently filmed in the city.
Birmingham is also attracting record levels of foreign direct investment from India as companies are drawn to the city’s compelling business and leisure offering. In the last decade, India has invested at least £2.3 billion in the West Midlands economy – more than any other region outside of London – creating or safeguarding some 24,000 local jobs.
Shivali Suri, Country Manager of Visit Britain in India, said:
These are exciting times for Birmingham. The acquisition of the new Air India route means the city is primed to capitalise on this growing market for the Midlands, and indeed the UK.
There is a clear demand for increased travel capacity between Birmingham and India – the city is now prepared to cater for this influx of visitors who spend considerably more than most international tourists.
The new service now operates four times weekly each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving from Amritsar and Delhi into Birmingham at 1800 hours and departing to Delhi and Amritsar from Birmingham at 2130 hours.
For further information please see: www.birminghamairport.co.uk
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