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Business is a pleasure in York
12:00am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in The York Report
While there have been excellent advances in technology assisting businesses to work together from around the world by video link, the value of meeting face to face is not to be underestimated.
Business tourism in York, from conferences at the 1,400-capacity Barbican Centre, intimate meetings at the Chapter House of York Minster, or corporate hospitality at York Racecourse, generates £150.9 million annual income for the city.
According to Visit York’s business tourism brand, VisitYork4Meetings, York hosted an estimated 20,000 business events in 2011, which were attended by just under a million visitors.
The city has shown a small decrease from 20,900 events in 2010, and had lower levels of overnight business, although it remains above the national average.
Thirty per cent of visits involved overnight stays, above the national average of 20 per cent.
The corporate sector accounted for the majority of event business in 2011, at 55 per cent, and the association sector and public sector events accounted for a quarter each.
Events within the corporate sector have shown a recovery since the downturn, although public-sector business has shrunk, while association business, which is generally less sensitive to economic downturn, has remained relatively static.
Just over half (56 per cent) of York’s event business was generated from within the Yorkshire region, while business from the rest of the UK has increased to 40 per cent, about 44,000 delegates.
The city is targeting events organisers in London in a trip to Westminster involving 21 York venues, led by VisitYork4Meetings and with the help of the city’s MPs in March.
Confirmed delegates include senior event organisers from a wide cross-section of organisations including blue-chip companies, high-profile charities and prestigious societies.
The city has already secured big conferences, including that of high-IQ society MENSA, which will attract up to 300 members to the city this year, and the University of York is to attract 80 to 120 academics, speakers and industry professionals from all over the world to the 2013 Beeronomics conference in September.
York’s conference ambassador programme, a series of dedicated sales days and a programme of national and international exhibitions promoting York for business, is also expected to boost the city’s profile as a destination for business tourism and the sector remains strong, with businesses confident in investing in the city.
During 2012, the four-star Royal York Hotel has invested £500,000 in a refurbishment of its events centre, enabling the hotel to increase its capacity up to 410 delegates and offering a dedicated conference café.
The Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates the Radisson hotel chain, has also invested £7 million in the Park Inn by Radisson York hotel, including improvements to its entrance, lobby and bar.
A new 119-bedroom Hampton by Hilton hotel was built as part of the West Offices development and opened on Toft Green in October, which expects to attract US visitors to the city.
Sojourn Hotels is to build a new 102-bedroom Hotel Indigo boutique hotel on Walmgate and a new 262-bedroom hotel is to be built as part of the Hiscox offices development in Hungate, while the council’s offices on St Leonard’s Place are expected to become an 88-bedroom hotel once vacated as the council moves into its new offices on Station Rise.
Another 165-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn hotel will also be build next to the Barbican Centre, which reopened in spring 2011 after a £2 million investment.
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