The West Midlands experienced around 141.2 million visitors in 2022 ©West Midlands Growth Company

The West Midlands welcomed an unprecedented 141.2 million visitors last year with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games thought to be the main driver.

The figures meant that the British region beat its previous record set before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 38 per cent increase in tourist numbers was seen compared to 2021 and a five per cent increase on 2019.

Spending rose to £14.1 billion ($17.6 billion/€16.4 billion), a 39 per cent rise from 2021.

"The West Midlands was the place to be in 2022, reflected by record visitor numbers to our region's tourism and hospitality settings, accommodation venues and public spaces," said West Midlands Growth Company Neil Rami.

"The past 12 months have reinforced the value of attracting and hosting major international sporting events and festivals.

"Not only do they significantly boost the West Midlands' visitor economy, but they also leave a positive, lasting impression with tourists.

"Our three-year global Business and Tourism Programme capitalised on the halo effect of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, targeting UK, Australian, Canadian and Indian visitors.

Birmingham 2022 contributed to record tourist spending in the West Midlands last year ©Getty Images
Birmingham 2022 contributed to record tourist spending in the West Midlands last year ©Getty Images

"By delivering more than 400 travel trade meetings and developing new travel trade bookable products, we have raised the profile of the West Midlands' tourism destinations.

"Evidence has shown that our activity has positively changed how the region is perceived domestically and overseas." 

Birmingham 2022 drew a record 1.5 million ticket-buying spectators, making it the most popular edition of the Games ever to be hosted in Britain.

During the Games, more than five million people came to Birmingham City Centre which was a 200 per cent increase on the same period 12 months earlier.

Hotels had an average of 90 per cent of rooms booked during the 12-day period with a 95 per cent peak on August 6.

"After what no one could dispute has been a challenging time for the world’s tourism industry, it's great news to see that our region has defied national predictions to bounce back more rapidly than expected," said West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

"The relative strength and resilience of our tourism sector is why I remain hopeful that we can get more local people into tourism related jobs in the months and years ahead – something I know is a priority for our regional Tourism and Hospitality Advisory Board."