Birmingham connects with events industry at global trade show

City’s connectivity highlighted as key to its growth as a global events destination.

Birmingham is joining forces with partners from across the region to promote its connectivity and expertise as a global events destination at the industry’s leading trade event, IMEX, in Frankfurt this week (19th-21st May).

Partners including the city’s business tourism programme Meet Birmingham, the NEC, Hilton Birmingham Metropole and Visit Wolverhampton, are uniting to highlight the area’s strengths as a globally connected destination with a host of high quality venues, and expertise in successfully delivering of some of the largest conferences and events in the world.

IMEX Frankfurt, which attracted almost 15,000 visitors in 2014, is one of the world’s leading trade shows for the international meetings, incentive travel and events industry.

The NEC will be showcasing the new addition to its site, the £150 million entertainment and leisure complex Resorts World Birmingham, which includes new conferencing centre The VOX. The nearby Hilton Birmingham Metropole – the largest conference and events hotel outside London – will highlight its recent £18 million refurbishment and facilities to cater for events with up to 2,000 delegates.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Meet Birmingham, said: “Birmingham’s growing connectivity to UK, European and global markets will be a key focus for the delegation’s presence at IMEX. Coupled with showcases of new and refurbished venues including The VOX, and forthcoming hotel openings such as the four star Park Regis and the highly anticipated Grand Hotel.

“IMEX offers an unrivalled opportunity for us to meet face to face with event organisers and contacts looking for well equipped and connected locations for their events. Last year we saw £2.5million worth of enquiries generated for the area’s hospitality sector from similar discussions.”

Patrick Stapleton, General Manager of the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, added: “Birmingham boosts its offer for the events industry every year but this year is particularly special, as a host of new venues and options come onto the market. Our own £18 million refurbishment has helped us to create a cutting edge conferencing offer for event organisers looking to create seamless, professional events in a central location.

“As the largest events and conference hotel outside of the capital, we are proud to be joining the Birmingham team at IMEX and hope our investment will attract even more interest and business into the region.”

The Birmingham delegation has already had requests for meetings with event organisers from across the US, France and Germany, as the city’s growing connectivity draws interest.

Birmingham Airport – the UK’s third largest airport outside London – reported its busiest year ever in 2014, handling more than 9.7million passengers, a 6.5% increase compared to 2013. The city’s air routes were further boosted earlier this month with American Airlines’ news of daily flights between the city and New York. Aided by the expected arrival of HS2, providing a direct link for the city to the capital within 45 minutes, and onwards to the continent by 2026, Birmingham is well placed for events drawing global audiences.

Birmingham retained its position as the top UK events destination outside London in the annual British Meetings & Events Industry Survey (BMEIS 2014/15). It also moved 14 places up the global rankings of meeting destinations to 122 earlier this month (ICCA, 2014).