Data from Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory, provided by travel research firm STR, found figures were up from the 74% recorded in 2015 and 71% in 2014.
Hotel revenues also grew strongly in the city. The average room rate (ARR) in spring this year was £68 – an increase of £7 from the same period last year – while revenue per available room (RevPAR) was £50, up from £45 last year.
Events contributing to the growth included the All England Badminton Championships at the Barclaycard Arena and Crufts at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in March, while the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress and Manufacturing in Motion helped April’s average occupancy to jump 6% compared with the same month last year.
In May, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) Annual Congress (24-26 May) and Birmingham Pride (28-29 May) saw occupancy rate increases of 11% and 22% respectively compared with the same three and two-day periods in 2015.
Emma Gray, director of marketing and communications at Meet Birmingham, the city’s official business tourism programme, said: “With [growth of] 17% in domestic tourists since 2010, and the largest increase of international guests outside London in the last two years, Birmingham is welcoming more visitors than ever.
“While a host of new brands have recently chosen to launch in Birmingham, there are a further 14 hotels – amounting to more than 2,000 bedrooms – in the pipeline, demonstrating the confidence that investors currently hold in Birmingham’s visitor economy and tourism offer.”
In March, international hotel brand Park Regis launched its first European property in Birmingham following a £50m renovation of the former Auchinleck House building on Broad Street.
Meanwhile, the 90-bedroom AC Hotel Birmingham made its UK debut beside the city’s canals at the Mailbox in May.