Shining a global spotlight on Britain - Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022

28 July 2021

Putting Birmingham, the West Midlands and Britain on the world stage. Promoting our tourism and hospitality offering. Driving future bookings.

Latest updates on our activity: 28 August:

Educational visits:

We are delighted to be welcoming more than 40 top travel buyers, tour operators and trade media from Australia, Canada and India on educational visits to Birmingham and the West Midlands during the Games, in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company. This is part of our wider programme of work through the Business and Tourism Programme.

UK House – Tourism Day 5 August:

The international buyers are also meeting to do business with British travel trade suppliers and destinations during the Games as part of a dedicated ‘Tourism Day’ on 5 August. The trade showcase, hosted by VisitBritain in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company, is part of the programme of events at UK House, The Commonwealth Business Hub, led by the Department for International Trade. Britain’s ability to host world-class sporting events is in the global spotlight during the Games and the Tourism Day will see leading industry stakeholders come together to highlight the importance of major events to the visitor economy, harnessing opportunities to drive tourism across the nations and regions.


Focusing on diversity, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is the ‘Games for Everyone’, with Birmingham a truly global city, home to people from more than 180 countries.

Being held from 28 July to 8 August 2022, the Games will be the biggest sporting and cultural event ever held in Birmingham, with thousands of world class athletes, more than one million spectators, and an estimated global audience of 1.5 billion.

Alongside the sporting programme is a six-month cultural festival, the Birmingham 2022 Festival, underway from March, to celebrate creativity across the West Midlands. The Queen’s Baton Relay has also been travelling around the Commonwealth, including a historic stop in Dubai, UAE, in February as part of UK National Day at Dubai Expo, and the UK before arriving in Birmingham for the Opening Ceremony on 28 July. It also travelled to our key markets of Australia, Canada and India, where we  welcomed the arrival of the Baton, leveraging the event to build awareness of the West Midlands and Britain with key tourism partners including airlines, tour operators and travel agents and consumer and trade media.

The UK Government has funded a £24 million, three year, Business and Tourism Programme (BATP). Focusing on tourism, trade and investment, the programme, being delivered by a range of national and regional partners including VisitBritain, is supporting in cementing the region, and Britain, as a globally sought after location to visit, invest and live.

VisitBritain has circa £2 million funding from the BATP for a two-year programme, working with the West Midlands Growth Company, to promote and boost awareness of the West Midland’s tourism offer in Australia, Canada and India. The focus is converting the inspiration to visit in to bookings and to encourage visitors to explore more and stay longer, stimulating spend in the tourism sector in the lead-up to the Games and beyond.

Activity across these markets is ranging from content partnerships with media to training and engagement with in-market travel trade to boost awareness of the region’s tourism offer, as well as activity across both our business-to-business and business-to-consumer channels. Also, by using key milestone events in-market, for example The Queen’s Baton Relay events, countdown milestones ‘One Year to Go’ celebrated in July 2021, 100 Days to Go on 19 April and 50 Days to Go on 8 June, working with Government partners, stakeholders, travel trade and media, we are ensuring the widest reach. 

Pan-campaign markets

We’ve launched a dedicated hub on our consumer websites in Australia, Canada and India (as well as a hub on our global site) using the Games as a hook boosting awareness/building familiarity, and educating audiences ready to convert to book travel during and post-Games. 

Our ‘Welcome to Another Side of Britain’ global marketing campaign is also harnessing the Games alongside this year’s other landmark events including HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the ground breaking series of ‘Unboxed creative events across the UK.

We are delivering a wide range of activity as part of BATP, see some highlights broken down by market in the drop downs. 

  • Integrating destination coverage of the West Midlands into Australian broadcast rights holder Seven Network’s B2022 sports programme, including amplifying with a video display campaign on Seven’s digital platforms.
  • Delivering a business and consumer content campaign with a major travel partner leveraging the hype and spotlight on Birmingham and the West Midlands to build destination legacy and drive 2023 bookings.
  • Continue a programme of familiarisations, media outreach and travel trade engagement/training to generate editorial and raise travel industry/stakeholder awareness of the Games, the West Midlands and key milestones.
  • Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) visit to Australia (March 2022). The QBR visit included a spectacular large-scale light projection (18 March) of the Baton's epic global journey, and the West Midlands, onto Campbell's Stores in The Rocks precinct on Sydney Harbour, hosted by VisitBritain and the West Midlands as part of the Birmingham 2022 Business and Tourism Programme (BATP). The projection also amplified the core Games’ brand assets, including ‘One World Many Regions’ - the hero narrative for the BATP. The projection was the only public-facing appearance for the Baton in Australia.
  • To extend the reach beyond the Sydney based activation, VisitBritain created social and web content from the projection for use across all partner channels. Content is also being used as part of trade and media engagement in the lead up to, and beyond Birmingham 2022. 
  • A paid content partnership with the BBC in Australia creating a ‘content hub’ on the BBC’s website with stories and new films highlighting visitor experiences across the West Midlands and reflecting our GREAT ‘Welcome to Another Side of Britain’ campaign themes - outdoor city activities, city food tours, iconic city attractions with a modern twist and culture. Included bespoke stories, social content and films highlighting the West Midlands and amplifying VisitBritain’s ‘Welcome to Another Side of Britain’ narrative. Examples of content: Britain’s cultural heart; Finding Peace in Unexpected Places; Birmingham’s Famous Forward Steps: The content partnership has been supported by a ‘brand solus’ campaign across social and video channels (ran Nov 21-March 22).
  • Developed and launched a bespoke, dedicated online training hub for the travel trade in Australia on – featuring West Midlands’ key destinations, experiences and practical touring information to boost awareness of region’s tourism offer and supporting agents to sell (ongoing).
  • Working with one of Australia’s largest travel companies Helloworld Travel to boost awareness of the West Midlands and its key destinations, products, experiences to drive bookings, supported by a dedicated training programme. The co-operative marketing campaign has been amplified across HelloWorld’s consumer and trade databases and marketing channels (print, paid digital and social, point-of-sale), its partner owned channels consumer, and B2B engagement
  • An upcoming paid content campaign with Canadian Broadcast Company (broadcast rights holder). Will include a dedicated content hub on with stories and video highlighting Birmingham and the West Midlands’ key products, stories and experiences that reflect our Welcome to Another Side of Britain narrative including outdoor city activities, city food tours, and iconic city attractions with a modern twist and culture.
  • Canada welcomed the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) from 26-29 May with stops in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. As part of the Baton’s visit, VisitBritain hosted a ‘showcase’ event co-hosted by British Tourist Authority chair Dame Judith Macgregor in Toronto to showcase Birmingham and the West Midlands to the Canadian tourism industry including media, tour operators, airlines and travel agents. Additional QBR events included trade workshops and media interviews.
  • Hosted press and trade educational visits from Canada in March 2022 with tailored itineraries to Birmingham and the West Midlands. Included nine Canadian trade partners on an educational visit to London and the West Midlands in the run-up to Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. VisitBritain also hosted top tier consumer media from Canada on a press trip to the West Midlands as well as London & Windsor (with a Platinum Jubilee focus) highlighting Welcome to Another Side of Britain storytelling. This followed two press trips to the region the previous November generating earned media coverage.
  • A paid content campaign with the Globe & Mail and Le Devoir (French language) media outlets in Canada with destination stories to build awareness of Birmingham and the West Midlands with a mix of digital, print and social media promotion. You can view an example from the Globe & Mail here: View an example from Le Devoir here:
  • Working with the Travel Leaders Network on an educational campaign with the travel trade in Canada - building product and destination awareness to drive bookings using digital content, workshops and webinars. 
  • Paid consumer content campaign with Reliance JIO, one of India’s largest Telecom service providers and content creators. It includes developing new content to promote experiences and boosting awareness of activities and attractions across the West Midlands, inspiring Indian travellers to include these on their next trip. The first phase saw a series of short-films with two Indian ‘influencers’, on-air in India from 20 February on Jio’s digital platforms (Jio TV & Cinemas). You can watch the initial promotional video on youtube. Continuing with the series, the Season 2 of the campaign will be launched in July 2022 with a social media heavy competition to choose a winner to #UnboxBritain through their own eyes and showcase the best of West Midlands and Britain to Indian audiences.
  • Hosting a delegation of industry partners and media to the West Midlands and sporting events during the Games.
  • Hosting trade engagement events and travel industry educational roadshows across India (July 2022 – February 2023) to promote West Midlands and the tourism products on offer, driving bookings. The focus is also on extending travel packages by two to three nights, broadening travel itineraries and encouraging visitors to explore further and stay longer.

Wider promotion - promoting Global Britain

The 2022 Games also provides us with wider opportunities to promote Global Britain, our messages of welcome and reassurance and demonstrate Britain’s ability to host sporting events of the highest calibre, as well as a valuable chance to promote our hospitality, welcome and highlight and boost local businesses. The UK Government’s ‘Tourism Recovery Plan’ includes the ambition for the UK to be ‘the world’s meeting place’ and highlights the Games as a key opportunity to promote the UK as the leading destination for world class events.

We have seen the positive impact that major sporting events including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games can have on a country’s international standing. Following the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games Britain’s overall ‘nation brand’ improved, so did international perceptions of our welcome. Britain is also already highly regarded for its sporting excellence and its sporting offer, ranking fourth-out-of-60 countries for this attribute in the 2021 Nations Brand Index.