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To be or not to be . . . writing an inviting script where Shakespeare Airport takes off in the West Midlands for Chinese and American tourism

May 3, 2015

HNA Hainan Airlines 787-8 ArtworkTHERE’S been a lot of debate about a region, based on a region even that’s greater than Birmingham . . .

For me it’s all about working with partners to achieve the greater good.

We’ve already seen under this last Conservative Coalition government huge improvements to junction 10 of the M6.

I’m right behind West Midlands Conservative MEP Dan Dalton – who paid a visit to Walsall during the election campaign.

Dan has travelled far and wide and knows his way around England’s county cricket grounds as a former Warwickshire CCC all-rounder and colleague of England vice-captain Ian Bell.

He wants to see Birmingham International Airport become a big hit with China and the United States.

HOWDY PARTNER: Let's brand Birmingham Airport as  Shakespare to the Americans  . . . with West Midlands MEP Dan Dalton

HOWDY PARTNER: Let’s brand Birmingham Airport as Shakespare to the Americans . . . with West Midlands MEP Dan Dalton

The former Elmdon airport gets the first wave of flights this summer with 4,000 Chinese tourists heading for the West Midlands. A partnership between the airport, Hainan Airlines and Chinese tour operator Caissa Touristic will see the launch of a series of 17 return Beijing-Birmingham charter flights, carrying the tourists into the UK on package tours.

Birmingham Airport has also unveiled its new Chinese branding – ‘Birmingham Airport, Shakespeare’s Airport’.

It will be used in China to promote Birmingham as a gateway into the region.

And as I write this blog, Dan reckons that drawing more American tourists to the region is also on the agenda as the idea to rebrand the Birmingham terminal ‘Shakespeare’s Airport’ in the United States takes hold.

This is an idea that can really take off. The West Midlands is world famous as the birthplace of Shakespeare, and as a region we need to maximise the benefit we can draw from our association with the bard.

If Liverpool can have John Lennon Airport, why not have Shakespeare’s airport in Birmingham.

It’s looks to have more chance of success than England’s cricketers in the Third (and final) Test in the West Indies this bank holiday!

Pioneering and industrious West Midlands, of which Walsall has always played such as intrinsic part, has so much to offer our global village that is the world these days.

And if the Conservatives are returned to serve our nation next week then former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine is already lining up the region to be next on the list to receive devolved powers from central government.

The move would see the Greater Birmingham area following Manchester and Cambridge down the devolved powers route.

It would mean greater freedom in areas such as business rates, transport and planning.

Lord Heseltine, who has long been a supporter of devolved powers and regional growth, has worked closely with the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP on the issue of devolution, creating the No Stone Unturned document which is a blueprint for the Greater Birmingham project.

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