How will the Commonwealth Games impact Birmingham?

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will impact the economics, tourism and local services in Birmingham both during and after the event.

By Silvia Pellegrino

This year’s Commonwealth Games are taking place in Birmingham in the UK between 28 July and 8 August. Also called the ‘Friendly Games’, they not only showcase international sports and camaraderie but will also affect the city of Birmingham and the West Midlands.

commonwealth games birmingham
Birmingham Commonwealth Games Countdown Clock in front of the Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square. (Photo by Roger Kidd/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Will the Commonwealth Games have an economic impact?

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will have a significant effect on Birmingham, both economically and environmentally. 

According to an economic benefits analysis by Birmingham City Council, the Friendly Games supported an estimated 4,526 jobs in the city each year in the run-up to the event from 2018, as well as a predicted 950 jobs annually after 2022.

The Commonwealth Games are one of the biggest events ever held in Birmingham. They include an apprenticeship scheme, providing opportunities for up to 12,500 trained volunteers. They have even created national and international trade agreements that will help to support local businesses. 

Since the celebrations of the Games began in March 2022, they kickstarted a chain reaction of boosts for the local economy. Thanks to artwork, performances and events reuniting the city, local businesses have been able to patch some of the losses caused by the pandemic.

However, the beneficial effects of the Commonwealth Games will not end with the end of the events. It is estimated that £300m in revenue will be generated from the Friendly Games’ contracts, boosting the city’s economy for years to come.

Will the Commonwealth Games bring in more tourism?

In past years, the Commonwealth Games have left a very beneficial mark on the tourism industry of the host cities. For instance, a report by the Commonwealth Games Federation shows that Manchester, the 2002 host, saw a 25% increase in tourism the three years after hosting the Games.

The report also shows a consistent growth in the five years following the Games, reaching as high as 971,000 tourists in 2007.

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[Read more: How much does the Commonwealth Games cost the government?]

There are 71 countries participating in the Commonwealth Games, which means that there will be a global audience and over one million spectators in the city.

How will traffic and roads be affected during the games?

The Commonwealth Games’ official website warns that, since over a million people will be travelling to the West Midlands for either tourism or the Games, there will be more traffic on the road and more people using public transport.

However, since this was expected, The Games Transport Plan has set out guidance and information on the transport arrangements for everyone.

During the Games, there will be road and parking restrictions. This will likely cause some routes to be diverted.

The website gives out three recommendations regarding transport:

  • Do not plan your travel last minute, and do not travel just before or just after the events
  • Take more time into consideration for your journeys, keeping in mind that there will be many diversions and disruptions
  • For local journeys, avoid public transport and walk or cycle instead.

The Games Transport Plan outlines more than 200 road diversions and parking bans, to provide safe, efficient and reliable transport.

How will the emergency services work?

Many volunteers will help out during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. For instance, RE:ACT, a humanitarian charity for rapid interventions in emergency situations, will provide 500 trained Games Responders for the event.

These Games Responders will be drawn from RE:ACT’s member community, which consists mostly of military veterans and emergency services personnel.

The BBC also reports that about 1,000 military personnel will be part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Apart from RE:ACT members, there will also be a Venue Assistance Force (VAF), which is being deployed to support West Midlands Police’s security operation.

Alongside personnel on the field, West Park Hospital is also suspending all non-emergency activities during the Commonwealth Games cycling event. There will be road closures from 5:30am until 9pm, which will prevent people from being able to reach the hospital.

[Read more: The 2022 Commonwealth Games: Everything you need to know]

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