It has been revealed today (29/09) that this year’s Conservative Party Conference, which will take place at the International Convention Centre in the City Centre between Sunday 2nd and Wednesday 5th October, could generate a £19.3 million economic boost in the Midlands.
The figure, calculated by the Marketing Birmingham Regional Observatory, the city’s official research arm, takes into account the spending by an expected 12,000 Conservative Party delegates and a record 1,500 national and international media on accommodation, travel, food & drink and recreation.
The Regional Observatory also anticipates that hotel occupancy in Birmingham is set to peak at 98.2% on Tuesday 4th October, the penultimate day of the conference. An average 92% of city hotel rooms are estimated to be filled during the four-day event.
Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The Conservative Party Conference provides a major opportunity to showcase an optimistic and vibrant Birmingham and I look forward to welcoming people to our young and exciting city.
“Around 12,000 delegates will visit us over the next few days, providing a significant boost of over £19 million to the city economy. But this event is about so much more than visitor numbers.
“Post-Brexit, our cities are more important than ever to the UK economy and we are keen to work closely with ministers to ensure that Birmingham – Europe’s youngest city – plays a key part.”
This year’s Conservative Party Conference – Theresa May’s first as Prime Minister – is the fifth to be held in Birmingham since 2008. It is the 13th political event to take place in the city in the last eight years.
Steve Hollis, Deputy and Interim Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), added: “The Conservatives’ return to the city is a clear endorsement of the party’s confidence in our ability to deliver first-class events. Greater Birmingham is one of our country’s economic success stories. It is one of the most enterprising city regions in Europe; its quality of life is attracting skilled workers and renowned employers from all over the UK and abroad.
“The area has transformed itself into a globally-recognised business destination for companies across a range of industries. There has been a 188% increase in foreign direct investment and an 86% increase in jobs over the last five years in the GBSLEP area. This has only been possible because of our connectivity, high quality employment sites and a rich cultural offer.”
Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “We are delighted to be returning to Birmingham for Conservative Party Conference this year. For me it feels a bit like coming home; I grew up a few miles down the road in Cannock and also made my first ever conference address as a Cabinet Minister here.
“Our Party is backing Birmingham and the Midlands Engine in Government, and has a fantastic relationship with the city – our conference has two more visits in 2018 and 2020 in the pipeline.
“As our new Prime Minister has set out, we are deeply committed to building a country that works for everyone. It is wonderful to see Birmingham thriving and I look forward to our candidate for West Midlands Mayor setting out their plans from the main conference stage, to make this area an even more prosperous and successful part of the country.”
Superintendent Darren Miles, who is leading the operation, said: “We are proud to be able to play our part in this event and are confident that we will provide a safe and secure environment for all those who attend the conference and for everyone who lives and works in Birmingham.
“We will have armed officers on patrol as part of our plans – they are there as a precaution and to provide reassurance.
“I want to stress that there has been no specific intelligence received relating to a threat to the conference and everything we are doing forms part of our safety plans.
“Members of the public are our eyes and ears in the city and I’d remind anyone who sees anything suspicious, or that causes concern, to speak to one of our officers or call 101 as soon as possible.”