Birmingham Needs to Work Much Harder to Sell Brand in Europe; POLITICS

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Byline: By Jonathan Walker Political Editor

Birmingham risks falling behind rival cities from Eastern Europe in the battle for tourism, trade and investment, a new study has warned.

The city will face increased competition from "undiscovered gems" in countries such as Bulgaria, Poland and Latvia, which can boast fine cuisine, good weather and historic architecture - but haven't yet learned to sell themselves to the world.

A report by a London consultancy said Birmingham did a reasonable job of creating a positive image for itself.

However, other British cities such as Liverpool had created a much stronger "brand", despite having no more to offer visitors than Birmingham.

The study compared the attractions offered by 72 cities across Europe, such as sightseeing opportunities, cuisine and restaurants, shopping facilities, good weather and public transport services.

It then compared the strength of their brands, judged on factors such as number of references in the media and whether the city had iconic, instantly recognisable landmarks.

Birmingham had relatively few attractions, coming in joint 66th place - along with Liverpool - out of 72 cities across Europe, according to the study.

It did a fair job of promoting itself, and came in 42nd place when cities were ranked according to the strength of their brands.

But Liverpool was far more successful, and came in 28th place The report said: "It's decided it wants to be a hip city, and it has a plan to achieve it. …