Birmingham climbs events league table as West Midlands exports jump
Birmingham has moved up one place in a league table which lists the world’s best cities for staging conferences and events, overtaking its nearest UK rival Manchester.
Cvent, a leading global event management company, listed Birmingham 22nd in its second annual ranking of more than 2,500 cities, based on event bookings.
Activity was tracked throughout 2015, with criteria including how often a destination is searched for by Cvent clients and the total number of room nights generated by events.
Birmingham moved up one place to 22nd in Cvent’s top 25 rankings, overtaking its nearest UK rival Manchester in 23rd place.
The top five comprised London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin.
News of the Cvent ranking came as further evidence emerged of Birmingham and the West Midlands’ fast-growing economy with the value of exports rising in the first quarter of 2016, bucking the national trend.
Exports from businesses across the West Midlands region rose to £7.5 billion, up by three per cent from £7.3 billion in the first quarter of 2015.
The value of exports across the UK as a whole fell by 2.6 per cent. In England, only the West Midlands, the South East and the South West regions recorded a rise.
The number of companies in the West Midlands exporting to overseas markets was up from 4,675 in the first quarter of 2015 to 4,721 in the first three months of this year. For the UK as a whole, the number of exporting businesses fell by 0.8 per cent in the same period.
Emma Gray, Director of Marketing and Communications at Meet Birmingham, the city’s business tourism programme, said:
Birmingham’s position as the preferred UK meetings destination outside London is further evidence of the consistent hard work of our venues and partners to provide the best possible experience for our many event visitors.
It is also testament to the continued, significant investment being made to enhance Birmingham’s business tourism sector. Events play a vital role in the city’s visitor economy, which hit an all-time high of £6.2 billion in 2015.
By launching new spaces including the Vox Conference Centre and accommodation providers such as Park Regis – together with redeveloped transport hubs New Street station and Birmingham Airport – we’re ensuring we remain attractive to this valuable market.
David Chalmers, Marketing Director of Cvent Europe, said:
Meetings and events are critically important to the economies of cities of all sizes around the world and we’re delighted to confirm that Birmingham has been named the top UK regional destination for conferences and events in the UK, in our list of the Top 25 Meeting Destinations in Europe.
Birmingham welcomed more than one million international visitors for the first time in 2015, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The 163,000 increase (17.3%) in foreign guests was the largest for any city outside London.
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