UK Cities See Increased Visitor Numbers

London and Edinburgh will always be popular draws, but Britain’s other industrial cities are rapidly becoming popular tourist destinations for international visitors in the latest full year 2011 survey.

Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol are seeing increased numbers, according to the most recent analysis of overnight stays by overseas visitors in UK cities in 2011 by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency.

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.

But Manchester, with its two competing global football teams, new landmark buildings such as the Lowry Centre, a new state of the art BBC media center (open to tourists) and world-class shopping is firmly in third place with 936,000 visits (up 15 percent from 2010). Birmingham saw 732,000 visitors, presumably attracted by its arts, exhibitions and one of the largest shopping centers in the UK: The Bullring has some of the best designer labels and 25 distinct restaurants. 

Liverpool has seen a 15 percent rise in foreign visitors, and overtook Glasgow to move into fifth place with 545,000 foreign visitors. Oxford, in seventh place, welcomed a record amount of visitors in 2011, seeing a 12 percent increase to 462,000. 

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.

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