Tourism bodies across Birmingham have welcomed the news that the city will host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
The announcement was officially made by the Commonwealth Games Federation at a special event at the Arena Academy school near the Alexander Stadium, the centrepiece for the Games in five years’ time.
It is anticipated that the 2022 Commonwealth Games will generate a £526 million boost to the West Midlands region, according to research from a PwC economic impact analysis.
Between 500,000 and one million additional visitors are expected to descend on Birmingham over the 11-day sporting event.
The games would support an average of 4,526 workers per year from 2018 to 2022, the report adds.
Neil Rami, chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company and member of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Bid Committee, said: “This is the West Midlands’ moment to make its mark.
“Hot on the heels of Coventry’s City of Culture success, Birmingham winning the 2022 Commonwealth Games is another tremendous endorsement for the region, providing an unprecedented opportunity to showcase its recent resurgence and regeneration on an international stage.
“Birmingham has enjoyed a 17 per cent increase in domestic tourists and a 52 per cent rise in overseas guests since 2011.
“We anticipate the games to create an enduring impact on the growth of domestic and international tourism in the region like never before, and look forward to providing an outstanding welcome to the many sports fans who will visit us in five years’ time.”
As well as sporting activity, Birmingham will host the games’ first cultural programme, highlighting the city’s diverse and youthful population, together with its rich industrial history and heritage.
Co-ordinated by Culture Central, in cooperation with institutions including Birmingham Museums, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sampad South Asian Arts Organisation and DanceXchange; and working with arts and communities organisations from across the city, the Birmingham 2022 cultural programme will be embedded at the very heart of the Games.
Anita Bhalla, board member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and member of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Bid Committee, added: “The decision to award the 2022 Commonwealth Games to Birmingham is a tremendous boost for the region’s reputation on an international stage.
“Hosting the Games will not only showcase our expertise in delivering major events, but will also highlight the richness of our cultural heritage and the immense talent of our young, digital and diverse population.
“With more than 5,000 creative organisations employing 31,000 people in Greater Birmingham, the games will provide us with a platform to display our traditional and contemporary arts scene, further enhancing regional tourism and supporting our growing economy.”
Birmingham welcomed the highest number of visitors on record in 2016, with tourist numbers reaching 39.1 million, international visitors hitting 1.11 million and tourism revenue at an all-time high of £6.5 billion.
The number of full-time jobs supported by the sector now stands at 70,635.
Figures from the West Midlands Growth Company Regional Observatory also show that 2016 was the most successful year in history for Birmingham’s hotels, with occupancy rates for 2016 peaking at 99 per cent capacity and averaging at 75 per cent.