says Julia Gallagher, the city’s Convention Bureau ManagerJulia Gallagher told ITCM at International Confex 2012 that Brighton was buoyant – and her mood was equally bubbly. ‘The number of enquiries we are handling is 10% up on this time last year – and up 15% by value.’
She was confident the recession tide was turning, but there are still constraints. ‘We used to get enquiries for two to three years down the line. Now, it’s more likely to be for an event six to 18 months away. But it is patchy. Some enquiries can still be for years ahead.’
Brighton is aware that its business tourism is vital to the city and every resident has to be an ambassador, especially when a conference is in town. ‘The population numbers only 250,000 and pretty well every business in town depends on the spin-off from MICE business. That makes for very good co-operation, with everyone pulling together.
‘Brighton calls itself the 10-minute city, as it is so compact. Delegates can move very easily from the conference centre to the hotels, restaurants and bars and to the visitor attractions.
‘As much as £4m has been spent on refurbishing the Centre’, she said, ‘and the individual hotels are constantly investing to maintain high standards. We cater mostly for UK-based events, but about 10% are booked from overseas. Medical conferences have been our bread and butter, partly due to our new but highly regarded Brighton & Sussex Medical School.’