BUSINESS travel and conferences in York now generate nearly £70 million for the local economy – placing York in the top ten business tourism cities in the UK.
The latest research from the UK Tourism Survey produced by Visit England shows last year York was seventh on the list of the most popular destinations for those wanting to hold business events and conferences, up from tenth in 2007.
Research commissioned by Welcome to Yorkshire and Yorkshire Forward also showed during 2008 the total number of delegate days in the city increased from 1.8 million to 2.2 million, while the average time business visitors are staying in the city increased to 1.9 days – up from 1.6 days in the previous year.
The average total length of residential conferences is also up, increasing from two days to 2.4 days.
And the average daily delegate rate charged increased from £37 to £38. The average residential delegate rate increased from £127 to £132. Approximately 63 per cent of business events taking place in York were booked by organisations in other parts of Yorkshire, with 33 per cent booking from other parts of the UK and four per cent booking from overseas.
Events from overseas increased from 693 events in 2007 to 904 events in 2008. Business travellers to York spent an average £62 per trip on accommodation, travel, food and drink, generating an additional £69 million for the wider economy – compared with a £47 regional average.
Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York said: “York’s hotel and conference venues have risen to the challenge of providing first-class facilities for the business traveller and this has paid off, placing York in the top seven key business destinations in England.
“With the opening of the new Cedar Court Grand Hotel next year, York has never had such a fantastic range of meeting and conference venues to offer the business traveller.”
As proof of its growing popularity York will start the new year with the biggest education conference in the UK, taking place from January 6 to 8, bringing with it an estimated £400,000 investment for the city’s business tourism economy.
The NEEC 2010 event – formerly the North of England Education Conference – is expected to attract up to 400 children’s services professionals.