Exhibition News April 2019 - Page 45

Destination Paula Lorimer, director of Harrogate Convention Centre “Here in Harrogate I think we’re perhaps a microcosm of what Yorkshire has to offer event organisers and delegates. We have the vibrant town centre with the cool, independent restaurants and hotels and we’ve also got the big-name chains with lots of rooms – all of which are essential in attracting event organisers. “Yorkshire’s so well connected too. We have the East Coast Mainline running right through the county linking us directly to London and Edinburgh. We can take advantage of those links to team up with the rail companies to offer exclusive visitor discounts. “Geographically Yorkshire is right in the centre of the UK, so the motorway links are excellent, and we have three airports, including Leeds/Braford International. “Because of that infrastructure and, of course the glorious landscape, Yorkshire is increasingly seen by organisers of major events as a very attractive destination, in every sense of the word. Hosting the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014 was something of a watershed for the region in terms of global recognition in our ability and infrastructure. The welcome we gave, the organisational expertise and our infrastructure were put on a world stage and we made a massive success of the whole thing.” Green and pleasant land The heads of two of Yorkshire’s leading event venues on why organisers should choose to hold events in the county I n recent years, Yorkshire has built up a reputation as a go-to location for organisers looking to hold anything from large scale sporting or consumer events to high level conferences and trade exhibitions. For our latest destination focus, EN caught up with the heads of Yorkshire Event Centre and Harrogate Convention Centre to learn more about the region’s unique appeal. Yorkshire at a glance Population: 5.3 million Size: 2.9 million acres Total annual visits: Over 216 million Economy: Approx. £110bn a year Heather Parry, managing director of the Yorkshire Event Centre “We’re proud to live and work in such a beautiful county. Yorkshire’s central location is a big plus point. We are based close to Harrogate, which is easy to get to by road, rail or air, and the Yorkshire Event Centre is set within 250 acres of green space which means fabulous views and plenty of free parking. “The YEC has undergone a recent £11m build of a new hall, which has taken us up to the next level in terms of attracting new business and large-scale conferences and events. Event bookers are choosing the YEC because holding an event here fulfils corporate social responsibility, as all of our profits go back to registered charity the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. This is the same for all the business based on the Great Yorkshire Showground including our sister events venue the Pavilions of Harrogate. Finally, we go above and beyond for our clients and as well as offering first class facilities, we offer first class customer service – very Yorkshire!” event w i f i . com April — 45