Conference News March 2019 - Page 41

41 Worker Bees working hard Manchester Manchester has become a leading UK destination for events, but how has it changed? or hundreds of years Manchester has been one of the UK’s leading industrial cities. Today the cotton mills and Watt steam engines are replaced with modern industry: finance, IT and, of course, events. Located in the heart of the Deansgate area is Manchester Central, a former railway station which now serves as a large exhibition and conference space. What makes Manchester a great destination for business events? “Manchester has long had a reputation of being a city where business prospers: a city where Rolls met Royce, where the first programmable computer was created, where graphene was discovered, and where the first professional football league was introduced,” says Shaun Hinds, CEO of Manchester Central. “In 2018, Manchester Central hosted a record number of events, with event planners realising that Manchester provides much better value for money, without having to compromise on quality. “A vibrant and easily accessible city centre, London stalwart brands such as the Ivy, D&D and Dishoom have all opened restaurants within the last 18 months and a further 1,200 hotel rooms will be opened in 2019. But despite all this growth, Manchester still, and always will, retain its famous northern warmth at its core,” adds Hinds. Manchester’s infrastructure is under constant development, as tram and metro lines snake out “Manchester still, and always will, retain its famous northern warmth at its core.” away from the city centre and into the industrial suburbs. One such area that is benefitting from this improved infrastructure is Trafford Park. The area, which is home to Manchester United FC’s stadium, has seen several hotels pop up in recent years, as well as re-purposed events venues like Victoria Warehouse. EventCity, however, is the largest in the area. So how has the area around this large events complex changed, and what is there for delegates to do? Simon Jones, sales director, EventCity, says: “EventCity is at the heart of TraffordCity, a wider development currently undergoing significant changes, including the expansion of the tram line by 2020 which is seeing a £350m investment, creating a fast and direct link into Manchester City Centre. “Delegates can enjoy a wide range of activities when visiting TraffordCity that are ideal for team building and winding down to follow a big business event. Within walking distance from the venue, visitors can hit the ski slopes at the Chill Factore or try indoor skydiving at iFly; also home to a unique adventure golf experience, Dino Falls, TraffordCity’s Beyond boasts a number of popular restaurants and bars. “Directly across from EventCity, delegates will find one of the UK’s largest shopping centres, intu Trafford Centre. Offering a range of high-end and high street stores, Trafford Centre is home to a number of restaurants, a cinema and indoor mini golf,” added Jones. As is obvious, the global fame and domestic success of both Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs means that sporting venues are a big draw for the city. But it’s not all football. Emirates Old Trafford is one of the UK’s top cricket stadia, and as the sport’s popularity has increased, so too has its appeal for events and client demands.