Home Estate Planning Could London lose its crown as the UK’s top events destination?

Could London lose its crown as the UK’s top events destination?

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The latest statistics released by a prominent venue in Manchester have “reignited whispers” that the city could fast become the UK’s predominant events capital. 

Manchester Central, which played host to The Conservative Party Conference in October 2023, welcomed over 143,275 visitors to 40 separate events in the last three months of the year, a 132 per cent increase in visitors on the previous quarter, and up 50,000 in the same period in 2022.

Meanwhile, total revenue for the city centre venue in the quarter also increased by £2m from £3.8m to £6.6m.

Manchester Central also said it directly contributed £35.6m to the Greater Manchester economy in the past quarter through secondary sales in hospitality and hotel bookings, from those organising and attending events at the venue.

The Conservative Party Conference contributed £20m alone in economic value. 

Full-year figures for 2023 also revealed the venue welcomed nearly half a million delegates, 459,042, to a total of 156 events held on-site.

More than 85 events are already confirmed to take place at the venue in 2024, including the recent HYROX fitness championships, the World Snooker Championships, July’s MegaCon Live which is expected to welcome over 15,000 attendees and the international music convention, WOMEX, in October. 

Chief executive of Manchester Central Shaun Hinds said: “Manchester is already being spotted on a global stage but I am certain that 2024 will cement its position as a UK leader in business and events.

“At Manchester Central itself, we are seeing a substantial uplift in new event enquiries, especially from events traditionally hosted in other parts of the UK, such as London and Birmingham.

“Businesses are quickly realising that the North is the place to be, to connect with peers and make investment deals, and we are pleased to be able to support and provide space for those companies – both national and international – who want to start hosting their conferences and events with us.”

The chief executive said Manchester has “a real buzz” about it this year. He continued saying that although they “are pleased with the level of interest by organisers”, they are also aware of “the impact that hosting these events has on the wider economy and growth, not only of the city region but of the North West and the North overall”.

Hinds added: “With our extraordinarily strong regional economic growth, and city leadership which continues to boost awareness and positioning, we know that the year ahead will be Manchester’s biggest year yet in terms of inbound tourism. It’s an incredibly exciting time.”

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