11:20am Friday 4th May 2012
BRITAIN’S largest industrial cities have positioned themselves as the UK’s most popular tourist destinations for international visitors in the latest full-year 2011 survey.
As the bank holiday approaches the industrial cities will look to capitalise on the renewed interest they now have on the global stage.
While London and Edinburgh continue to maintain their traditional supremacy as the two most popular urban destinations in the UK, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and now Bristol are emerging as rival attractions.
The rise of the cities is highlighted in the most recent analysis of overnight stays by overseas visitors in UK cities in 2011 by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency.
When researchers looked at all types of visits, London retains its top spot with 15.2 million overseas visitors staying in the city in 2011, followed in second place by Edinburgh with 1.3 million.
Manchester, however, with its two competing global football teams, its modern new landmark buildings such as the Lowry Centre, a new state-of-the-art BBC media centre (open to tourists) and world-class shopping is in third place with 936,000 visits (up 15 per cent on 2010).
Birmingham sits neatly in fourth spot with 732,000 visitors attracted by its arts, exhibitions and one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, the Bullring.
Liverpool, which has also seen a 15 per cent rise in foreign visitors, overtakes Glasgow, moving into fifth place. Liverpool, famous for its musical heritage, culture and architecture, attracted a substantial 545,000 foreigners.
Oxford, in seventh place, welcomed a record number of visitors in 2011, seeing 12 per cent more foreigners enjoy the old colleges (462,000). The official guided walking tour of the city and university helps visitors understand the story behind Oxford’s history.
Outside the top 10, cities such as Leeds, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Windsor, Carlisle, Stratford-upon-Avon, Newquay, Harrogate and Cheltenham saw international visits higher than in 2010.
Patricia Yates, strategy and communications director for VisitBritain, said: “These results confirm international visitors who might come here because of the global appeal of London are starting to appreciate our vibrant cities outside the capital and the very different offerings of Edinburgh Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
“In such a key year to showcase Britain, and all that our visitors can experience here, VisitBritain’s Great image and tactical campaigns in key inbound markets ensures that tourism growth, economic benefits and jobs are delivered right across Britain."
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group