The QEII Centre in Westminster generated £218m of gross UK expenditure in 2015/16, creating a GVA (Gross Value Added) of £100m, according to a new economic impact study.
Following the completion of Phase 4 of a £12m refurbishment programme, the largest dedicated conference and events space in central London commissioned Grant Thornton in June 2016 to undertake a detailed analysis of its contribution to the economy.
An analysis of the QEII delegate data from 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 also applied official data sources, industry benchmarks and multipliers, qualitative data from interviews with key partners, stakeholders and a number of clients as well as modelling to assess the impact of several key events.
The study also incorporated data relating to employment which advised that the QEII supported an estimated 1,088-2,255 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs.
After recording 231,900 visitors to the venue in 2015/16, QEII Centre management says the facility is on course to deliver a solid operating performance for the 2016/17 financial year and its advanced bookings are currently 21% and 39% ahead, respectively, for 2017/18 and 2018/19 compared to a year ago.
QEII Centre chief executive Mark Taylor said: “Thanks to the combination of our substantially improved facilities and services, the commitment and enthusiasm of our staff as well as our re-branding and enhanced marketing activity, we are now hosting a wider variety of exhibitions, awards ceremonies, fashion shows and banqueting events alongside our core conference business. Therefore, with our continuing success we felt it was important to quantify the Centre’s economic contribution to both the UK and London economy.”
He added: “While the results from the QEII’s Grant Thornton economic impact study speak for themselves, the centre’s contribution is far greater than just a financial one. It generates trade and export, business stimulation and knowledge sharing (soft power) as well as an important platform to showcase industry and services, positively influencing London’s and the UK’s global reputation.”
QEII Centre will this year host more than 500 national and international events, with recent high profile events including scientific meetings for the Association of Anaesthetists Great Britain and Ireland, the Japan Pavilion which coincided with the Rugby World Cup and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Grand Challenges Conference. The diversification into a wider variety of events has included London Fashion Week shows for Peter Pilotto and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and events for major brands such as Top Shop, Belstaff and Lancome.
This week has also seen renewed calls for the QEII Centre to be used to rehouse the House of Lords, as the government comes under increased pressure to decided a timetable for the renovation of Parliament.
The Times, 3 April, said that a move by Peers into the QEII Centre while work takes place could cost over £3bn and take up to eight years. The newspaper added that a rolling renovation, on the other hand, could last 32 years and cost at least £5.7bn.
MPs are set to be granted a free vote on the best course of action.