Birmingham enjoys summer boost from international conferences

Birmingham’s business tourism sector stands to benefit from staging three internationally-renowned conferences at the International Convention Centre (ICC), boosting the local visitor economy by over £4 million during a traditionally quieter period across the country.

IEEE Nano 2012 (20-23 August), CASE Europe (27-31 August) and SSIEM (4-7 September) all took place within three weeks of each other and had more than 3,000 delegates in attendance, equating to around 36,000 bed nights for the city’s accommodation providers.

Birmingham Convention Bureau (BCB) supported all three events, thanks to its online accommodation service, bespoke websites, city welcome dressing and exclusive discount vouchers for delegates.

IEEE Nano 2012 (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Nanotechnology Conference) brought 450 delegates to Birmingham to exchange information on their latest research progress. Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Konstantin Novoselov was among the world-renowned scientists and engineers in nanotechnology to give speeches at the event, while the University of Birmingham hosted a conference dinner in its Great Hall. The successful bid to host the event was undertaken as part of the Birmingham Ambassadors programme – an initiative which aims to bring the city’s leading academic figures together with the private sector to showcase Birmingham’s wealth of available expertise.

Kyle Jiang, Professor of Nanotechnology at the University of Birmingham’s School of Mechanical Engineering and IEEE Nano 2012 conference chair said: “Delegates thoroughly enjoyed their stay in Birmingham and were impressed with how modern and beautiful the city was, with plenty to see and do outside of the conference.

“I regard the ICC as the best in the country – the facilities and catering were excellent and the venue was able to accommodate the number of visitors that attended.

“I have had a very good experience working with both the ICC and BCB and I look forward to hosting another event here soon.”

Meanwhile, the CASE Europe (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Annual Conference 2012 welcomed 1,000 professionals from schools and higher education institutions working in fundraising, alumni relations, marketing and communications. Over 100 sessions took place at the ICC, bringing delegates into contact with current clients and exhibitors, while a walking tour for international visitors was provided by BCB.

The SSIEM (Society for the Study of Inborn Errors in Metabolism) symposium saw over 1,500 delegates attend the ICC to exchange ideas on inherited metabolic diseases, with a programme focusing on how diversity influences diagnosis, therapy and long term outcomes. The congress featured a number of plenary sessions with speakers from Australia, France, the Netherlands and the USA, while the event’s social programme included a welcome reception at Town Hall and tours of Birmingham’s unique Jewellery Quarter, canals and heritage buildings.

Catherine Newhall-Caiger, Business Development Director at the ICC said: “We were delighted to host not just one, but three highly renowned international conferences at our venue this summer. Next summer is set to be another busy one for us with the International Union of Physiological Sciences conference secured for next July. The five day conference is expected to attract 4,000 delegates to the city.

“Our location, flexibility and experience make us the ideal venue for international conferences and is definitely a market we will continue to grow. Since opening our doors in 1991 we have hosted over 110 international events helping to put Birmingham on the map as the events capital.

“The success of all three conferences is testament to the close working relationship we have with our clients and everyone at the ICC who worked tirelessly to make sure the events passed without any problems.”

Ian Taylor, Commercial Director at Marketing Birmingham, the city’s strategic marketing partnership which operates BCB, said: “Hosting three international conferences in as many weeks represents a major coup for Birmingham and enhances our reputation as a world-class business tourism destination, with the ability to provide a unique welcome for every type of event, all year round.

“Competition to lure events of this calibre remains strong, but with an unrivalled location at the heart of the country and continued investment into our hotel and transport infrastructure, we remain confident that more prestigious national and international conferences will be attracted to our enviable offer.”

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