Working with conferences and events on a day-to-day basis can sometimes mean losing sight of the overall, and often significant, impact they can have on a city. Recognising this, Liverpool Convention Bureau together with flagship venue ACC Liverpool commissioned a report into the value of international conferences in the city region.
The report revealed that since January 2014, international conferences have brought around 20,000 delegates to Liverpool. Most recently, the European Society of Biomaterials conference, held at ACC Liverpool in September, attracted more than 1,000 delegates with an economic impact of £1.8m, while October saw events including EuroLabFocus and the European Society of Surgical Oncology come to Liverpool.
Other venues in the city, namely Liverpool John Moores University and the Foresight Centre at the University of Liverpool, hosted the International Conference on Sensing Technology and the Public Administration Conference UK respectively.
With factors such as accommodation, retail and social events, Liverpool Convention Bureau has revealed that the economic impact of these conferences is estimated to be around £39m.
With this in mind, the bureau is focusing on bringing more international conferences and events to the city.
“We recently attended IMEX America for four days packed with meetings and appointments,” Emma Bellis, Head of Liverpool Convention Bureau told CN. “This was the third year we have attended the show in Las Vegas, and previous ventures saw us receive fruitful enquiries, while the early signs from this year are also very promising.”
Bellis added that the US is a key market for Liverpool with many links historically, from being the site of the world’s first US consulate to cultural links through The Beatles and football – all of which, she says, give the city a head start when speaking to American organisers.
As such, IMEX America isn’t the only activity the bureau has undertaken stateside.
ACC Liverpool recently appointed an American representative, Peter Berry, to target US-based associations and encourage them to bring their events to the city region.
“Looking on this side of the Atlantic, we are also very busy in European markets,” Bellis said. “This year has seen us host fam visits from countries such as France, Belgium, Denmark and Germany. We find that although many of these European visitors are familiar with the city for music and football, they are blown away by the sheer choice and variety on offer here.”
This activity, combined with a presence at events like EIBTM and IMEX Frankfurt, is clearly paying off. And, indeed, the bureau points to its continually improving product as a key influencer for international meeting planners choosing the city for an event.
“Accommodation like 30 James Street, Aloft and Titanic Hotel is distinctively Liverpool, and appeals to an international audience, while next year’s opening of Exhibition Centre Liverpool will propel our flagship space to a truly world-class level,” added Bellis.
Taking it to the international stage
Liverpool took centre stage this summer when it staged the inaugural International Festival for Business (IFB) throughout June and July. The six-week event comprised 424 events, ranging from large global conferences to invite-only seminars.
Venues such as ACC Liverpool, the University of Liverpool and Aintree Racecourse played host to the larger events such as Accelerate 2014 and the International One Health Symposium.
There is currently a thorough and independent analysis of IFB 2014, which will be presented to government shortly. However, it was deemed enough of a success for the government to rubber-stamp funding for a second instalment in Liverpool in 2016.
Chancellor George Osborne, speaking in July at one of the festival’s key events, the Santander SME summit at the Cunard Building, said: “When I travel around the world meeting foreign governments and investors I am selling Britain as a brand and events like the International Festival for Business make that job easier. It’s a shop window for global markets and a reminder that we can be proud of the stamp that reads ‘Made in Britain’.
“I will work with all of you here to put on an event that is even bigger and better in two years’ time, so we can continue to put Britain, this great city of Liverpool and our inspirational small businesses out in the front,” he added.
Between now and 2016, Liverpool will be working hard to maintain, and build on, its position on the international stage.
This was first published in the November issue of CN. Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor