Birmingham voted conferencing capital by UK event organisers

City ranked most popular location for business tourism events outside London.

Birmingham has been named the country’s favourite business tourism destination outside London by UK-based event organisers.

The annual British Meetings & Events Industry Survey – a report highlighting the buying trends and characteristics of nearly 500 conference organisers from the corporate and not-for-profit sectors – revealed that Birmingham was the preferred choice outside of the capital to host events. Birmingham was ranked ahead of Manchester, Edinburgh and Leeds in the top five by industry professionals.

Working with venues across the region, Meet Birmingham – the city’s business tourism programme – has secured 56 new national and international events in 2016, an increase of 133% on the previous 12 months, delivering an anticipated combined impact of over £35 million to the local economy.

Stephanie Mynett, Visitor Economy Business Development Manager at Meet Birmingham, said: “This is the eighth time in a row that Birmingham has been voted the top regional UK location for conferencing and events. Following this year’s successful Conservative Party Conference in the city, the result of this survey offers another huge boost to the hard work of our partners to provide the best possible experience for event organisers.

“Birmingham has seen a 17% growth in domestic leisure and business visitors since 2010, as well as the largest increase of international visits for any city outside London, contributing to an overall tourism economy worth £6.2 billion. As the city continues to welcome a series of new venues and developments, with a particular recent influx of independent food and drink outlets, we’ve been connecting with tour operators, conference organisers and travel agents at events across the globe to ensure Birmingham builds on its favourable reputation in this market.”

Since the start of 2016, Birmingham has been boosted by major openings and redevelopments across its business tourism sector. Europe’s first Park Regis Hotel and AC Hotel Birmingham opened in the spring, while BLOC Hotels this month launched new apartments in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. New or refurbished conferencing facilities in the region include Canalside at The Cube, The Slate at Warwick Conferences, a £1.8 million refresh of the ICC’s halls and meeting rooms and the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre.

Vincent Garrington, General Manager at the BCEC, said: “Since opening our doors on 3rd October 2016, enquiry levels into the BCEC have far exceeded our initial projections, with current mid-week bookings at 67% occupancy for the venue – a positive sign that Birmingham is leading the way in attracting events to the Midlands and the BCEC is meeting an ever increasing demand. As the demand of meeting space in Birmingham city continues to rise, our pipeline into 2017 is looking strong, with many large scale event bookings in our ballroom space, the Mercian Suite.”