Marketing Birmingham is working with the city’s airport to increase its share of the Indian tourism market.
The marketing efforts will build on Birmingham’s new Air India service which operates four times weekly to Delhi and Amritsar.
About 13,500 people visit Birmingham from India each year – making the West Midlands the most popular region outside of the South East for Indian tourists – and the city is home to nearly 65,000 residents of Indian ethnic origin.
Marketing Birmingham hopes the new Air India service will help the city to boost its share of the ‘lucrative’ South Asian visitor market, which is ‘fuelled by India’s growing middle class who will take an estimated half a million tourist trips to Britain each year by 2020’.
Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, said: ‘With friends and families representing a large proportion of visitors, we are now looking to grow the number of Indian tourists, who are typically keen to travel to destinations with a wealth of history, culture and good quality food and drink.
‘Securing a direct flight route to the Indian capital is a major step for Birmingham, and the result of much hard work by citywide partners to promote the area’s potential for the airline.’
The city’s marketing partnership has worked with Birmingham Airport at events such as Routes Asia in Mumbai to position Birmingham as an ideal destination for global airlines.
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner service will see up to 1,024 additional passengers travel to Birmingham each week.
Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport, said: ‘This statement of confidence from Air India sends a clear signal that Birmingham is a great destination for not only business, but also leisure, visitors.
Shivali Suri, country manager of VisitBritain in India, added: ‘These are exciting times for Birmingham. The acquisition of the new Air India route means the city is primed to capitalise on this growing market for the Midlands, and indeed the UK.’
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