The UK city of Birmingham is looking to build its growing Indian tourist market with the launch of a new Air India flight.
With nearly 13,500 Indian visitors to Birmingham each year, the West Midlands is the most popular region outside of the South East for Indian tourists to the UK.
Currently operating four times weekly between Birmingham Airport and New Delhi, the newly launched Air India service is expecting a significant increase in traffic in the coming years. The new Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ service will see up to 1,024 additional passengers travel to Birmingham each week.
Marketing Birmingham, which operates leisure tourism programme Visit Birmingham, is working with partners to build on the rising tourism market, raising the city’s profile overseas as a tourism destination through targeted campaigns and key trade shows.
Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham said: ‘Birmingham has a proud reputation as one of the most diverse cities in Europe and is home to a large, rapidly growing Indian population.
‘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. News of Air India’s investment comes at a time when Birmingham’s international standing is at an all time high. We must now continue to develop our global profile – promoting the city overseas is vital to securing more international routes and building the city’s reputation as a European hub for tourism.’
Birmingham’s strategic marketing partnership has been working with Birmingham Airport at events including Routes Asia in Mumbai to position Birmingham as an ideal destination for global airlines.
Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said: ‘Birmingham is the first city outside of London to operate a dedicated scheduled Boeing 787 Dreamliner service. 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.
‘Our regular services to Delhi will encourage more Indian visitors to travel to the city and experience our great culture, using Birmingham Airport as their gateway to the rest of the UK.’
Shivali Suri, country manager for Visit Britain in India, said: ‘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.
‘There is a clear demand for increased travel capacity between Birmingham and India – the city is now prepared to cater for this influx of visitors who spend considerably more than most international tourists.’
Presently, the new service operates four times weekly, each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving from Amritsar and Delhi into Birmingham at 1800 hours and departing to Delhi and Amritsar from Birmingham at 2130 hours.