The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Ocean Media Group (OMG) have announced today, 7 June, that from 2012 they are relocating their CIH Annual Conference and Exhibition from Harrogate to Manchester Central.
The event, which has been held in Harrogate for a quarter of a century, will run one week earlier than usual, from 12 to 14 June 2012.
The move is estimated to be worth £2m to Manchester in business tourism each year.
Paula Lorimer, Sales and Marketing Director at Manchester Central, said she was “absolutely delighted” to welcome CIH, having worked with the institute and Ocean Media Group over the last three years to develop the move to Manchester. The organisers say the decision to move followed “extensive research among conference delegates, exhibitors and visitors”. Issues cited, they say, were the flexibility of the venue and transport links.
Organisers believe 4,500 delegates and housing professionals will attend the 2012 event.
Sarah Webb, Chief Executive of the CIH, said: “The CIH annual conference and exhibition is the flagship event in the UK housing calendar. While Harrogate has provided a great home for many years, moving to Manchester will enable us to provide a better conference and exhibition, make the most of the state of the art facilities at Manchester Central and provide improved access and accommodation for exhibitors, delegates and visitors.”
“I’m delighted and excited that CIH has been able to work with OMG and make this long-term commitment and investment for the whole housing sector,” said Trevor Barratt, Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Media.
CIH and Ocean Media paid tribute to the staff at Harrogate International Centre and the people of Harrogate for their warm hospitality over the years, although the 2011 event, from 21 to 23 June, will be the last for a while.
Lorimer explains to CN why she thinks her venue won the new contract: “One of the key drivers for any successful conference is to have an accessible destination with a convention centre that is state of the art and is surrounded by hotels.
“It’s a misconception that Manchester is a vast city; it’s a ‘walking city’ and Manchester Central is right in the heart of it. This cuts delegate travel times and makes for an enhanced delegate experience. Ultimately, Manchester Central is attracting a number of new, high profile clients purely based on the business case – conferences that come to us get more delegates and more exhibitors.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The city’s investment in creating world-class conference facilities at Manchester Central means Manchester’s standing as a major conference destination continues to grow – generating essential investment and jobs.”
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