Air India’s recent announcement to introduce daily flights to Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, from November is likely to bring in more business tourism visitors to the Midlands and beyond building on the 71 per cent increase in Indian visitors to Birmingham between 2012 and 2013.
Visit Birmingham, the city’s official leisure tourism body, is currently running a six month training programme with Kuoni Academy for travel agents in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Amritsar. The sessions will raise awareness of Birmingham’s attractions; the city’s central location as a gateway to the rest of the UK and its direct air links to Asia, following Air India’s commitment to increase its Birmingham-Delhi-Amritsar operation to a daily service from November.
The initiative builds on the rising number of visits to Birmingham from India – with a 71 per cent increase last year, from 8,261 (2012) to 14,131 (2013). The city attracts more visitors from India than any other destination in England outside of London, and is ranked second in terms of total numbers of visitors from India in the last four years.
The aim of the programme, which runs until September, is to train between 200 and 300 travel agents, some of whom already promote the destination, as well as new agents. The workshops will provide grounding in Greater Birmingham’s tourism offer – including the region’s attractions, culture, heritage, retail and food – as well as the new developments set to transform Birmingham in 2015.
Visit Birmingham’s Director of Marketing Services, Emma Gray, travelled to India recently to launch the programme with a delegation that also included representatives from Birmingham Airport and The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.