Recognised both for its unique historical legacy and as a growing cultural hotspot, Manchester is a vibrant city that’s grown from strength-to-strength in recent years.
Now amid an exciting cultural renaissance, Manchester is developing at a scale and pace not seen since industrial times. The city is seeking to progress its reputation as a leading business tourism destination, a sector that is currently worth over £823 million per annum to the city region.
As the world’s first modern industrial city, Manchester has a strong manufacturing legacy, with the focus now well and truly shifted from the cotton industry towards the field of advanced manufacturing, where innovative technology is used to enhance the manufacturing process. The city is now home to the National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) which opened at the end of 2018 to foster development of the world’s thinnest, strongest and most conductive material – graphene – which was first isolated in Manchester.
Manchester’s historical, industrial and academic assets are also providing an additional edge in attracting conferences, particularly in the city’s three key sectors; advanced manufacturing creative and digital, and life sciences – overseeing large-scale conferences in 2019 such as the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution which brought 1,000 delegates.
A big conference win for Manchester was securing The British Small Animal Veterinary Association – the organiser of the largest and longest running small animal congress in Europe – which had chosen to move from Manchester to Birmingham from 2021 as part of a three-year deal with 10,000 delegates set to attend and an estimated £110 million to the local economy over three-years.
Sheona Southern, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester, comments: “Manchester is the city where great minds meet: a city of firsts and pioneering partnerships; where the atom was split, where Rolls met Royce, where the first programmable computer was created, and where the first professional football league was introduced.
“With the largest cluster of events and conferencing spaces outside of London, Manchester offers a myriad of major events and conference facilities in the heart of the city centre. Added to this, the diversity of venues available within a compact area, as well as numerous places to stay, eat and relax within close proximity, Manchester makes it easy for great minds to meet.”
Business tourism is aided by around 2,500 hotel beds within a five-minute walk of the city centre’s flagship conference venue, Manchester Central, with the number of rooms in the centre set to increase by up to 40% by 2020. Manchester has been home to the Labour and Conservative Party conferences, alternating every two years, and as the UK’s first European City of Science, it hosted the EuroScience Open Forum in July 2016, attracting 4,500 delegates and 600 speakers from over 70 countries.
2019 marks the start of a three-year wave of cultural projects across Greater Manchester too, with a £200 million cultural investment, significant developments will place the region in the cultural limelight. Throughout July 2019, Manchester International Festival (MIF), the biennial festival of arts, music and performance returns. MIF will take up permanent home at The Factory (opening 2021), a new large-scale arts centre for the north expected to attract up to 850,000 visitors a year. Major expansions of the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester Museum and Manchester Jewish Museum are also set to be completed by 2020.
A well-connected region thanks to Manchester Airport, direct flight routes are now available to China, USA and Europe, and a new route with El Al is set to launch in May direct from Manchester to Tel Aviv. Delegates can also reach London in just two hours and seven minutes with Virgin Trains West Coast operating every 20 minutes in peak time. Sheona adds: “The city centre is compact and walkable and benefits from a tram network, a free bus service and three major national train stations.
“More than anything Manchester is hospitable at heart. A welcoming, inclusive and open city where collaboration and partnership run deep and wide. A place where networks can be built, and alliances forged. A place that excels in hosting and takes pride in the welcome it extends to all.”
Upcoming events for your diary…
4th June – Bridgewater Hall
Confex Future Focus
4th – 5th July – Manchester Warehouse
Venues + Events Live
23rd – 24th September – Manchester Central