Birmingham hotels enjoy best summer on record

The strength of Birmingham’s tourism offer has been reflected in new hotel occupancy rate figures, which show the city enjoyed its best summer on record.

The city’s accommodation sector posted average occupancy rates of 75%, the best summer since records began in 2003.

Some of the big sporting events staged in the city during the period have been highlighted as strong drivers.

The figures, compiled by the West Midlands Growth Company’s Regional Observatory and STR Global, show hoteliers enjoyed year-on-year occupancy rises in June (up 3%), July (up 2%) and August (up 2%).

Revenue per available room (RevPAR) also rose to £48; a £4 increase on the average figure recorded in summer 2016.

The five cricket matches staged at Edgbaston during the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy were cited as significant, with the India v Bangladesh semi-final attracting the highest crowd (24,340) for any match in the tournament – including England v Australia.

While the ground’s staging of the country’s first day/night test match in August attracted 70,000 spectators, including two sell-out days.

Elsewhere, in June tennis fans packed the Edgbaston Priory Club as it hosted the Aegon Classic Birmingham, won by double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, while in August, athletics fans said their goodbyes to Sir Mo Farah at the Müller Grand Prix at Alexander Stadium as the distance runner ended his track career.

Birmingham City Council leader Cllr Ian Ward said: “These record-breaking figures outline Birmingham’s growing popularity as a tourist destination. There’s no doubt that our rich calendar of sporting and cultural events is a huge attraction. People enjoy coming to Birmingham for major events and importantly many of them come back time and time again.”

Although not mentioning the Commonwealth Games explicitly, the performance suggests Birmingham would be a successful host should the city ultimately land the 20222 event.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing & Communications at the West Midlands Growth Company, which operates the region’s leisure and business tourism programmes Visit and Meet Birmingham, said: “Confidence in the region continues to grow, which is reflected in the tourism sector with an all-time, seasonal high for our hoteliers and an additional 13 accommodation venues in the pipeline – amounting to more than 2,000 extra bedrooms.

“With a busy Christmas in the region fast approaching, we’re also looking ahead to 2018. Our visitor offer will be boosted by the launches of Legoland Discovery Centre at Arena Birmingham and The Bear Grylls Adventure at the NEC. With the return of the World Indoor Athletics Championships and International Dance Festival Birmingham, there will be something for everyone to enjoy in the region next year.”