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Birmingham as the new business events capital

Since VisitBritain announced plans to move its headquarters out of London to Birmingham, business event industry eyes have increasingly focussed on our evolving city.

This international recognition is certainly deserved and has been a long time coming. In fact, our powerhouse region hosted a record-breaking 141.2 million tourists last year and the West Midlands visitor economy is now worth a record £14.1billion.

So, what is it about Birmingham that makes it the perfect host for business events?

Incredible connectivity

Birmingham sits in the centre of England, with more than 90% of the country’s population within a four-hour travel time, making it an easy choice when it comes to conveniency.

The city has a robust public transport infrastructure including its iconic trams, and boasts easy booking and planning for visitors who are new to the area. On top of this, the city has excellent transport links to most of the UK, as well as an international airport.

Excellent events track record

Birmingham is the biggest centre for business events outside of London and in recent years has built up a reputation for global consumer events too. For example, The Commonwealth Games 2022 was hugely successful with more than five million tourists visiting the city which resulted in a 90% average hotel occupancy throughout the 12-day event, according to The West Midlands Growth Company and the Central Business Improvement District (BID).

There’s something for every business at Birmingham, from our historical, state-of-the-art AV equipped event spaces to the NEC’s huge exhibition hall, the city is ready to cater for any business event need.   

Welcoming vibe

The city prides itself on is its people and their famously happy disposition. While this may not seem like a decision maker, consider every touch point of an event – from departing the train to getting directions, or grabbing dinner post-event, you want delegates to have the best possible experience overall, and that’s pretty much guaranteed here.

Statistics shared at EMEC Brighton’s ‘Renaissance in the Events Sector’ suggested a workforce evolution is taking place for the event industry, with event professionals new to the industry now making up 60% of its personnel. The average age of workers has also dropped by nearly a decade, with most people now younger than 35 years old. Birmingham is considered as the ‘youngest’ city in Europe and, as such, has embraced a welcoming, fun persona, which is hard to resist – earning itself a place on today’s event planners’ radar.

Speaking on the strength of the West Midlands for the business events sector, Martin Fullard, Director, News & Content, The Business of Events, said: “The West Midlands has long been a strategic region for business events, and VisitBritain opting to have a far greater presence there is a logical progression.  For VisitBritain to have an active presence in this business events hotbed is a real vote of confidence in the sector.”

We’re extremely excited to see what is next for our beautiful city and next year already looks full of interesting business event bookings. I’d like to leave you with Visit Birmingham’s description of the city as the “beating at the heart of the country with a quiet confidence like no other […] a hotbed of culture that's rich and diverse.”