Birmingham has today (8 February) been confirmed as the host city for the Conservative Party’s autumn conference in 2014. The event is expected to attract up to 14,000 delegates and it will be the fourth time Birmingham will have hosted the party since 2008. However, the second city’s leaders have said that political conferences may not figure so prominently in future event bid planning.
Andy Street, Chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, welcomed Conservative Party’s return to Birmingham for next year’s conference, describing the economic benefit and media profile of hosting the event as “significant”.
“Greater Birmingham is currently at the forefront of discussions with government to put regional cities in control of their own growth. In welcoming the Conservative Party back in 2014, we have an opportunity to reinforce our credentials as a forward thinking, dynamic and welcoming, city region,” Street added.
Marketing Birmingham, which promotes the city as a meetings and events destination through its Meet Birmingham programme, has worked closely with the party, the ICC and city partners to bring the event to the city.
The conference was secured with support from the city’s major events subvention fund managed by Marketing Birmingham.
The city’s events strategy has recently refocused through work with city and industry partners, to attract events from 2014 onwards in sectors the city is also targeting for investment and economic growth overall. These include advanced manufacturing, automotive, business, professional and financial services, digital media and ICT, life sciences and food and drink.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore said: “Political conferences have been an important part of the city’s events calendar for some time. In hosting next year’s event we are fulfilling a commitment of the previous administration.
“Looking beyond 2014, we are aiming to attract events in sectors the city is also targeting for investment. These events will bring industry leaders and decision makers to Birmingham, creating opportunities for us to showcase the city’s offer as a business destination. This will ensure that events held here act as a catalyst for the city’s economic growth.
“Aligning our events and inward investment strategies in this way may mean that we do not host political conferences as we look to maximise investment opportunities with a range of events.”
Nick Waight, Managing Director of the ICC, said: “We are delighted the Conservatives have chosen to return to Birmingham for their 2014 conference. Their return is a strong indication of the ICC and Birmingham’s position as the UK’s leading conference and events destination. The ICC alone welcomes around 400 events and 300,000 delegates to the city every year, contributing £85m to the regional economy and supporting 2,000 jobs in the service and leisure industry.”
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