G&S and Good Food help turn Harrogate around

Harrogate International
Centre (HIC) venue director Simon Kent is expecting to post an annual profit of
more than £270,000 at the end of April. If realised, the figure would signal
the centre’s best financial result since 2009.

Kent has praised staff and customers for “their faith in HIC”
over the past 12 months and following some difficult times. “The last few
years have been difficult for the conference and exhibition industry, but HIC
has managed not only to keep its major clients during the tough times but also
exceed its sales forecast for this year by about half-a-million
pounds. This shows a lot of faith in the business.

“HIC’s purpose is to keep
on bringing in the hundreds of thousands of business and leisure visitors to
the town who, last year, were worth £65m to the local economy but we also have
to break even as a business; we have achieved both of those things.”

It has been a year of
high-profile events for Harrogate, including the hosting of the month-long
Gilbert & Sullivan Festival and the BBC Good Food Show Spring.

Kent said that the strong
results came despite the high annual running costs associated with the Royal
Hall and Sun Pavilion, both of which come under the management of the
International Centre.

Kent also reported the HIC
had won a business rate rebate in 2014 worth £450,000.

MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones said it was
“excellent that HIC was back in the black”.

“HIC is the powerhouse behind a large part of our local visitor
economy. It underpins thousands of jobs and generates more than £50m of trade
in the Harrogate district. 

“It fills our hotels and guest houses and supplies a steady stream
of customers for restaurants, coffee shops and all the facilities and
attractions that make up our tourist offer.”

Jones added that it was important that the MP, the HIC and local
businesses worked hand-in-hand to keep the conference trade and the local
economy vibrant. “These results show that partnership is working and
working well,” he said.

The HIC last week hosted a major new conference on business crime
organised by Yorkshire and Humberside Partners Against Crime (YHPAC).

Do you have news for CN? Email: Paul Colston

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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