The recent terrorist attack at Manchester Arena brought horror and unwanted attention to the UK’s Northern Powerhouse city, which had been making big strides, with a new Mayor heading an internationalisation strategy designed to turn the city into a top 20 global city by 2035.
Manchester is No.94 in the ICCA rankings with 27 qualifying association meetings. Last year’s EuroScience Open Forum proved the city is equipped to hold events of global significance. thanks to its academic ecosystem.
On the horizon is the University of Manchester’s Engineering Campus Development, the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, CityLabs 2.0 and the Henry Royce institute, all powering the city to a global leading role in advanced materials and life science research.
In June 2019, the 58th Annual Conference of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group will bring 1,000 experts for an event worth £2.5m (US$3.2m) to the Manchester economy.
The city’s flagship convention centre Manchester Central attracts a wide range of events and recorded its strongest financial results, for FYE17.
A £3m extension has opened for events at The Monastery Manchester, a popular venue, and QHotels’ Midland reports increased interest from the Far East on the back of a State visit last year from the Chinese president. There are direct flights from Beijing and Singapore to Manchester. One reason for an increase in corporates choosing Manchester is the diverse accommodation on offer, catering for all budgets. There is certainly a gain to be made on London’s prices.
For the organiser with sport-minded delegates, Manchester offers a host of top-class venues steeped in tradition. Two Old Traffords – one football, one cricket – offer extensive meetings suites with famous backdrops over football (Manchester United) and cricket (Lancashire, CCC) pitches respectively.And, if blue is your colour, try knocking on Pep’s door over at The Etihad. The state-of-the-art football stadium is also Premier League for events.
The city has plenty of academic venue space: Manchester Metropolitan University offers campus accommodation in the summer months and 4-star accreditation from Visit England.
Becky Shipley, analyst at Ashfield M&E agency, says: “One of the benefits of Manchester is the huge choice of venues. From the modern, glass-encased Hilton Deansgate to The Principal, which dates from the 1890s. The Victoria Warehouse is a prime example of how the city is bringing its industrial heritage into the future, and Manchester Central offers an array of space configurations for small and large-scale events.
“There is still a bias against northern cities from those who favour London and the south of England, but Manchester has a great location on the M62, train links and a multitude of flights. The drawback for international delegates is that flight accessibility from many European cities is poor during the off peak season.
4 to try
1. The Stoller Hall: Opened in April 2017, it is home for professional and amateur musicians and can host a variety of events.
2. Hope Mill Theatre: This Grade II listed building is home to creative studios and a theatre and offers in-house production and events space.
3. Victoria Warehouse: This former cotton storage facility offers a blank canvas for events. A flexible space of over 10,000sqm has event clients including BBC 6 Music, BMW and Facebook.
4. Chief Librarian’s Office: Perfect for intimate business meetings and private dinners, the Chief Librarian’s Office sits in the Grade II listed Manchester Central Library.