The UK’s West Midland’s economy has received a huge boost in recent years through initiatives by Birmingham airport and Indian airlines to forge stronger links between India and the UK’s second largest city.

Around 10% of the region’s population have links to Asia. In recent years the airport has launched a number of initiatives to attract business and leisure visitors from India to the city, which saw a 71% increase in visitors from the sub-continent in 2013 over 2012. The city now attracts more visitors from India than any other destination in the UK outside of London, and is ranked second in terms of total numbers of visitors to the UK from India in the last four years.

Since Air India commenced direct Birmingham-Delhi-Amritsar flights last year, more than 80,000 passengers have used the four times weekly service and the airline has announced daily services from November. This will deliver an extra 1,500 seats on the route and give more choice, flexibility and opportunity for Indian tourists to fly into Birmingham.

Direct flights from India and China as well as the city’s strategy to target these areas have led to a steep increase in visitor numbers and levels of investment. According to the airport the boost in Birmingham’s profile has also attracted record levels of investment, with foreign direct investment in 2012/13 up by more than 50% against a national increase of just 11%. This has created an additional 4,000 local jobs and is worth an estimated £174 million to the local economy per year.