As the international media spotlight shines on Bradford, the Bantams’ fairytale Capital One Cup run is being used by a lobbying group to boost tourism, investment and businesses in the city.
Bradford Breakthrough is inviting journalists and editors from national and regional media organisations to a series of events capitalising on City’s Wembley final against Swansea, which it hopes will help improve the city’s reputation across the country as well as show off its assets.
Colin Philpott, chief executive of Bradford Breakthrough, which has 26 members including Bradford Council, said: “We’ve been planning these events for some time, but this seems to be the perfect time to do this, while Bradford is in the spotlight in a positive and favourable way.
“Whatever the result of the final, it’s going to be a good opportunity to find out more about the city.
“We are trying to tell people ‘come and have a look at Bradford’ – people who wouldn’t usually have the city on their radar.
“Bradford City are the plucky underdog and Bradford is an underdog city.
“We need to capitalise on the cup and use it as a springboard to keep Bradford in people’s minds.”
The group will hold events to coincide with the Bradford International Film Festival in April, the Academy of Urbanism Conference in May and a BBC Bollywood Live event in City Park in June.
Each event will last 24 hours and will involve showcasing Bradford’s successful businesses, cultural assets, community projects and landscapes as well as include an explanation of Bradford’s plans for the future.
Later in the year, the group will invite tourism and investment agencies to the city for a second round of events.
Mr Philpott said: “We believe Bradford needs to be better at shouting about its strengths and its exciting future plans.
“We will be honest about Bradford’s challenges but we feel that there are so many great things going on in Bradford of which we can be very proud.
“We believe that by establishing relationships with key national figures, we can increase the chances of Bradford being spoken about favourably across the country thus increasing tourism and investment into the city.”
Organisations across the city helping to host events include the University of Bradford School of Management, the National Media Museum, Bradford Council and Bradford City of Film.
Leader of Bradford Council Coun Dave Green said he thought it was ‘always the perfect opportunity’ to promote Bradford, but Bradford City’s cup run had provided front and back-page coverage of the area in the national and international media.
“I think Bradford Breakthrough is right to try and seek out the policy makers and the thought provokers from the world of the media to get them up to Bradford.”