Birmingham shuns key travel show…on the day it unveils giant tourism vision
While tourism boards for Cheltenham, Doncaster, Rugby and Lichfield were among the exhibitors at The British Tourism & Travel at the NEC, there was nobody from Visit Birmingham
Adds the Newspaper: “Birmingham shunned a giant travel show in its own back yard – on the day it launched a multi-billion-pound tourism vision.”
While tourism boards for Cheltenham, Doncaster, Rugby and Lichfield were among the exhibitors at The British Tourism & Travel at the NEC, there was nobody from Visit Birmingham, or and West Midlands-wide body.
That was despite the event coming on the day Birmingham Smithfield, the 10-year vision to turn the wholesale markets into a leisure hub for families, was launched.
More than 250 exhibitors took part in the event, with Visit Lichfield, Resorts World, in Solihull, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, in Warwickshire, and the Severn Valley Railway, in Kidderminster, the closest to home to take part.
Robert Alden, leader of the opposition Conservative party on Birmingham City Council, said: “It is absolutely crazy, and shows a lack of joined up thinking at the council while they are announcing this huge plan to bring in tourism then have nobody from Visit Birmingham at this event.
“It is clear the council needs to be promoting Birmingham to bring tourist attractions now
The British Tourism & Travel Show took place on March 16 and 17 and brings together hotels and venues, and attractions and destinations wanting to meet and do business with the decision makers responsible for planning holidays, trips, tours and breaks.
About 3,000 professionals from the tourism sector took part this year and it is considered a major networking event for the UK’s £127 million tourism industry.
Industry giants like Merlin Entertainments, British Airways and the National Trust took part but there was no representation from the Greater Birmingham region.
That was despite the Birmingham Smithfield vision opening the door to a host of new attractions.
The 12-hectare site is to become a family hub with a vision of bringing in leisure parks, ice rinks, big wheels, cinemas, bowling alleys and more.
The 10-year vision is also key to transport throughout the south of the city core, with proposals for new pedestrian-friendly boulevards, streets, Metro and sprint routes.
While the West Midlands had no presence, there were representatives from the likes of Skipton, Snowdonia, Liverpool and Wiltshire.
Among the other exhibitors were football clubs Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City – but no Midland teams took part.
Emma Gray, director of marketing and communications at Marketing Birmingham, said: “We are focusing on trade events which provide the largest growth opportunities and support Greater Birmingham's ambitions to increase visitors to the area.
“We have prioritised activity that will deliver significant economic impact in two key areas international markets and also to support the areas’ business tourism sector, so we can attract large scale exhibitions, congresses and meetings.”