Manchester has some highly futuristic, edgy-looking buildings dotted around the city. Manchester has some highly futuristic, edgy-looking buildings dotted around the city.

Travellers from the Gulf are spurning London and heading for the UK’s northern capital of Manchester instead. Monika Grzesik accompanied an agent fam to find out why it’s far from grim up North.

Introduction
It’s home to millionaire footballers and of course Coronation Street, but when it comes to attracting tourists, Manchester, the capital of the north of England hasn’t always been a destination at the top of many people’s wishlists.

But all that is now changing, and the ‘capital of cool’ for the north of England is placing itself firmly on the tourist map — especially when it comes to attracting travellers from the Middle East.

Connections with Manchester and the Gulf region are strengthening in more ways than one — ever since Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan stepped in to buy Manchester City football club in 2008, visitors from the Emirates are becoming a regular feature in the city and Manchester is gearing up to welcome them with open arms.

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All the major Gulf carriers — Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad — are pouring capacity into Manchester. Emirates will add a third daily flight starting May 1, after existing services featuring an A380 superjumbo were consistently full. Qatar and Etihad will go double daily from Doha and Abu Dhabi from August 1 and June 1.