Birmingham welcomed a record-breaking 1.1m visits in 2015, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The international visitor consumer spend reached £386m and the city can claim the largest growth in visitors outside London.
The ONS research highlights that the city is the fourth most visited place in the UK by global guests with an increase of 163,000 visitors (17.3%) on the figure for 2014 (944,000).
The proportion of international business visitors is growing, with 619,000 such visits recorded, a figure that is 19.4% up on last year’s number of 499,000.
Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, said that £1bn of investment in the region in the last year had led to the record levels of growth.
NEC MD Kathryn James said the latest figures reinforced Birmingham’s emergence as a world-class city. “Our NEC Group venues are also playing their part in attracting international visitors through exhibitions, conference and live events, and even more so now that our destination offer is enhanced following the opening of Resorts World Birmingham on the NEC campus last year.”
Emma Gray, director of marketing and communications for Marketing Birmingham, added that the 2015 figures had been boosted by the business tourism sector numbers.
“Events play a vital role in the city’s visitor economy, which hit an all-time high of £6.2bn in 2015,” she said.
“By launching new spaces including the Vox Conference Centre and accommodation providers such as Park Regis – we’re ensuring we remain attractive to this valuable market.”
Some of the bigger conferences held in Birmingham last year included Automotive News Europe Congress (9-10 June 2015, Hilton Birmingham Metropole); the 6th Meeting of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) (5-8 September 2015, The ICC); and the European Sensory Integration Congress (ESiC) (10-12 September 2015, Conference Aston).