The business tourism survey, based on the buying tendencies of nearly 500 British event organisers from the corporate and not-for-profit sectors, revealed that Birmingham was the preferred choice outside the capital for the seventh consecutive year.
Birmingham remains ahead of city rivals Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow as the most used regional destination for events. The 2015/16 survey also highlighted that access, location and value for money were the most important factors for industry professionals when choosing a location.
In 2015, Meet Birmingham – the city’s official business tourism programme – attracted and supported more than 20 events from the region’s best performing business sectors, resulting in a £36 million economic boost. These included Automotive News Europe (9-10 June, Hilton Metropole) and the IBMS Biomedical Science Congress (28-30 September, International Convention Centre (ICC) Birmingham).
Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services for Marketing Birmingham, which operates Meet Birmingham, said: “Birmingham has established itself as a welcoming and respected events destination for local, national and international organisers, highlighted by the latest rankings of this influential, industry-wide survey. To build on this success, the city has invested on unprecedented scale to further improve its infrastructure and connectivity for business tourism visitors. Many landmark developments – such as New Street station – have come to fruition in 2015.
“During the coming 12 months, we will be capitalising on this momentum and ambition by encouraging more organisers to experience Birmingham’s offer. This includes a particular focus on hosting more events linked to the region’s sectoral strengths, in areas such as advanced engineering and life sciences.”
Next year the city will once again host the Conservative Party’s autumn conference, while the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) marks its 40th anniversary with a series of events until August.
Nick Waight, Managing Director of the ICC Birmingham, said: “It’s encouraging to see Birmingham maintain this position and it’s a true reflection of what the city has to offer. Birmingham is the perfect choice for event organisers given its central location, unrivalled connectivity by road, rail and air, and wide range of venues. There is plenty to enhance the delegate experience with a huge number of great quality restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, shops and hotels bedrooms all within easy walking distance of city centre venues such as the ICC.
“Birmingham’s offering is constantly evolving too and we expect it to remain extremely attractive to event organisers. For example, our new conference centre the Vox, is situated in Resorts World on the NEC site and managed by our experienced ICC team. The venue is the first conference centre to sit within an integrated leisure complex in Europe and offers delegates a complete end-to-end conference experience.”
Meet Birmingham hosts its fourth Showcase event in spring 2016, inviting national event buyers to sample the city’s business tourism credentials through face-to-face meetings and tours.
The city has also recently relaunched its events support package for organisers and delegates. Named The Birmingham Welcome, the package provides industry professionals with the necessary tools – including venue location, hotel information and social programme planning – to deliver a successful event in the city.