Conferences and business tourism generated £573 million for Manchester’s economy during 2009 according to a latest study.
The figure represents the income to businesses in Greater Manchester from the 4.2 million delegates that came to the city and the 56,900 business events they were attending. Of those delegates, two million stayed overnight, thus providing a valuable source of revenue for the city’s hotel industry.
The Conference Value & Volume Study, which was funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), commissioned by Visit Manchester and carried out by TEAM Tourism Consulting, was based on a survey of conference venues in Greater Manchester. It found that corporate business events account for 55% of the industry, followed by government / public sector events (32%), national association conferences (11%) and international association conferences (2%).
Paul Simpson, managing director of Visit Manchester, the tourist board for Manchester City Region, said: “The study shows just how big a contribution the city’s conference and business tourism sector makes to the local economy.
“As the organisation responsible for attracting conference and business events to the city, it is important for us to know the value of the industry so that we can benchmark the city against other conference hubs and monitor the impact of business tourism marketing activity.
“There have been major developments in Greater Manchester’s conference product over recent years, in terms of developing the infrastructure and support services that organisers expect of a world class conference destination and we’re confident the city region will continue to generate a significant economic benefit from this sector in the future.”
Nick Brooks-Sykes, Director of Tourism at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), funders of the survey, said: “The contribution of business and conference events to the regional visitor economy cannot be underestimated. Business Tourism is active throughout the year and presents a number of wider economic benefits, such as increased visitor spend and high-value return visits.
“The Manchester City Region has a proven track record for its Business Tourism product, representing a high quality, recognised brand. Thanks to continued investment in Manchester Central, new facilities like The Point and University Place and ongoing investment in hotel accommodation, Manchester is well placed to attract even more of these lucrative markets.
“Armed with the findings of this Study, the city is able to continue its informed and targeted sales and marketing activities and develop this important sector of the overall visitor economy.”
Manchester’s profile as a leading business tourism destination has grown significantly in recent years. Events like the Labour and Conservative political party conferences have become a regular feature of the city’s calendar and new events are secured for the city year-round thanks to the Northwest Conference Research Unit and Visit Manchester.