THE region's conference trade has been given a boost as Harrogate International Centre secures a trio of new contracts.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and British Medical Association (BMA) have both signed up to bring major conferences to Harrogate in the next 18 months, while the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) will bring its first ever conference to Harrogate in March next year.

The signings come shortly after Harrogate International Centre (HIC) bosses announced they had secured for 2014 the BBC Good Food Show Spring, which will be held next month, and Tattoo Royale coming this autumn.

HIC deputy director Victoria Wilson said: “The start to 2014 has been better than we could have possibly hoped for. But it hasn’t come without hard work and I think it’s testament to the efforts of our sales and marketing team.

“The NUT, BMA and RCP events alone will bring in thousands of visitors to HIC and be a real boost to Harrogate’s economy as a whole, as well as raising the profile of HIC in the UK.”

Mrs Wilson said other recent coups for HIC included the signing of a three-year contract with designer candle company Partylite, the Building Society Association conference in 2015 and the Ladies Association of Barbershop Singers in 2014 and 2016.

Kitchenware company Pampered Chef has also signed up to bring its conference to HIC in September this year.

Mrs Wilson added: "The most encouraging thing is that many of the contracts we have signed in the first quarter of 2014 have been new events or customers returning to HIC after a period elsewhere.

“I know there are general signs of recovery in the events industry but we aren’t counting on that alone and we are working hard to secure new business."