TORONTO, May 27, 2022 /CNW/ - Esteemed Canadian dignitaries, Team Canada athletes and senior leaders from the West Midlands in the UK, home of Peaky Blinders and Shakespeare, have welcomed the arrival of the Queen's Baton Relay in Canada, celebrating this summer's Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Joined by the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, and West Midlands-based Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Business and Tourism Programme (BATP), hosted the Meet the West Midlands event to highlight the Queen's Baton's journey across 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
The arrival of the Queen's Baton Relay and accompanying event in Toronto, further cements the unique relationship between the UK and Canada as a Commonwealth country.
The event also spotlighted Birmingham and the West Midlands as a top travel destination for Canadians. As the UK and Canada both rebuild from the impact of COVID-19, the West Midlands is ready to welcome visitors from Canada back safely.
Serving as the host region for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the Birmingham 2022 Festival, the West Midlands is located in the heart of Britain and renowned for its vibrant cities, beautiful countryside and world-class tourism venues, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and Warwick Castle.
The Birmingham 2022 Festival was launched at the start of March and will feature hundreds of creative commissions across the region. The six-month long celebration is a tribute to the creativity in the West Midlands and will involve hundreds of artists, and thousands of participants, communities and audiences.
At the showcase event in Toronto, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, introduced the attractions of Birmingham and the West Midlands and demonstrated why the region is a must-visit tourist spot for Canadians.
From its vibrant cities, beautiful countryside and world-class tourism venues, Canadians visiting the West Midlands are able to experience longstanding cultural gems such as the birthplace of Shakespeare, Cadbury's chocolate, the Industrial Revolution and the Birmingham Royal Ballet, as well as visit the area which inspired Peaky Blinders.
There was an average of 46,900 visits per year from Canadian tourists to the West Midlands in 2017–2019, and the total number of yearly visits by Canadian tourists has increased by approximately 52 percent between 2010 and 2019.
Celebrity chef Glynn Purnell showed off his expertise of the West Midlands' thriving food scene, known as the epicentre of the nation's culinary map and encompassing cuisine from around the world, with 11 Michelin-starred restaurants and another 27 venues awarded entry in the Michelin Guide 2021.
Minister for Sport and Tourism, Nigel Huddleston said: "This week we celebrate the close ties between our two great nations as the Queen's Baton Relay travels through Canada, making its penultimate international stop before returning home to the UK in just a few weeks time.
"As Birmingham gets set to host the Commonwealth Games, we're proud to promote the host region of the West Midlands as a fantastic place to live, work and invest. We encourage our Canadian friends to come visit and see for themselves everything the region has to offer, in what's set to be an unforgettable British summer."
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: "A key part of my mission as Mayor is to 'bang the drum' for our region and win the best possible investment for the people of the West Midlands.
"That's why we are making this visit to Chicago and Toronto to offer up the 'perfect recipe' – with the help of our hometown hero celebrity chef Glynn Purnell – to prospective investors in these important cities, with the added excitement of the Queen's Baton Relay on display.
"We want to attract unparalleled levels of trade, investment and tourism into the West Midlands and we will be working hard during our time in these countries to do exactly that. With the West Midlands hosting the Commonwealth Games this summer, there is no better time to be pitching our region to the world."
VisitBritain Chair Dame Judith Macgregor said: "We're delighted to be celebrating the Queen's Baton Relay arriving in Canada in the run-up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and to be showcasing the vibrant and diverse West Midlands region in England, inspiring bookings. From its renowned heritage and buzzing city attractions to its contemporary culture and innovative food and drink scene, the West Midlands is packed with exciting experiences for travellers to enjoy in the lead-up to the Games and beyond.
"Canada is a very important inbound tourism market, we know there is pent-up demand for travel and the Games is a timely and valuable opportunity to highlight experiences that visitors can only have in Britain and to celebrate our friendship and connections as we welcome Canadians back to our shores."
In the spirit of making connections across the globe, during the event a Commonwealth-wide relay of words and art, named the Relaytionship, was shown to the dignitaries.
West Midlands-based poet Amerah Saleh has produced a spoken word manifesto as part of the artwork to inspire people around the world to contribute a word, image or video to the artwork.
The unique piece of 'hyper hybrid art' is now inviting Canadian residents to add their own unique words to this evolving piece of artwork.
Canadians can contribute to the artwork and continue the relay of words at www.makeitwm.com/relaytionship.
SOURCE West Midlands Growth Company
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