Marketing Manchester activity update: June 2019

This month, we’re launching a new Greater Manchester Business Tourism Strategy with an event hosted at Manchester Central on 13 June.

We’ve seen a marked improvement in our positioning as a global conference city in recent years which has led to us attracting many national conferences with several thousand delegates – such as the upcoming British Small Animal Veterinary Association conference which will bring 10,000 delegates to Manchester over five days each year from 2021 to 2023 – as well as significant international conferences that align with our priority sectors including healthcare and advanced materials.

The total value of business tourism has increased by 50% since 2009, from £573 million to £862 million, but with the aim to grow business tourism earnings in Greater Manchester by a further 40% or more by 2025, our new sector-wide strategy outlines the vital steps we must take collectively to be successful in reaching this goal in five years’ time.

Conference and business events have an important, and often under-valued, economic impact for Greater Manchester, with day delegates spend valued at £62, and every overnight delegate spending £190 per day according to our latest Conference Value & Volume study. This compares to a leisure day trip value of £46 and a leisure staying visit of £130, which is a significant uplift. Delegate value also varies between business type with an international association delegate having a total trip value of £333, a national association delegate of £197, a corporate delegate of £189 and a public/government delegate of £169. This explains why we put so much focus on bidding for international association business and attend events such as IMEX (see below).

Business tourism in the region also supports 35,100 jobs, such as those in host businesses (venues and accommodation providers), the wider destination businesses (shops, restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, attractions and transport providers) and suppliers that support the sector. Greater Manchester also sees an additional £42 million in visitor spend coming from delegates extending their stay for leisure purposes and this additional activity supporting a further 1,600 jobs.

In the period since 2009 where we’ve seen the value of business tourism increase by 50% there has been a significant increase in supply including: Manchester Central, which has seen continued investment; new operators such as Etc Venues which have opened; a rise in new hotels with meetings spaces; and Manchester’s universities and attractions have also continued to develop and enhance their conference products. On top of this, we have also seen an increase in business secured.

Those attending the launch of the new Greater Manchester Business Tourism Strategy will hear from Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, Robin Johnson, Director of Europe at VisitBritain, Shaun Hinds, Chief Executive of Manchester Central, Nick Brooks-Sykes and Stephanie Newton from Marketing Manchester and Neil Fairlamb from Manchester City Council, as well as a Q&A panel hosted by Iwan Griffiths, Chair of  PwC North West and Greater Manchester’s Internationalisation Marketing Advisory Board.


News in brief

Silver for The Manchester Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Marketing Manchester’s first entry at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, inspired by the themes of adaptability and resilience, was awarded a Silver medal last month.

The Manchester Garden was designed for Marketing Manchester by landscape architects Exterior Architecture and offered a fresh perspective on post-industrial cities, highlighting the reinvention of Greater Manchester whilst raising important questions about how cities manage urban green infrastructure in the face of climate change, rising temperatures and weather extremes.

As an ambitious first-year project, the team was delighted to accept an RHS award whilst engaging visitors to the garden and promoting Manchester in an entirely new and innovative way as a forward-thinking urban city with green ambitions. The Manchester Garden also presented a huge media opportunity, which included the city being the focal point of a ten minute segment during the live broadcast of the show on Thursday 23 May (see iPlayer here from 21 mins, available to watch until 22 June) as well as being featured in countless radio, print and online publications.

Spanning across a structure that incorporated urban, parkland, remediation and sustainable drainage system (SuDS) planting, The Manchester Garden included a stunning sculpture by Manchester artist Liam Hopkins that showcased the importance of materials to the region, from one-time ‘cottonpolis’ to the home of potentially world-changing graphene. It also featured a paved area created with beautiful local sandstone, appropriately named after a founding city elder, Sir Joseph Whitworth; a water feature that told the story of the region’s major waterways; and ten trees – representative of the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, all specified for tomorrow’s climate in partnership with Manchester’s very own City of Trees initiative, which aims to plant a tree for every resident, within a generation.

We could not have delivered The Manchester Garden without our key supporters who are all owed thanks: Addleshaw Goddard; Aviva Investors; Cole Waterhouse; Domis; Edwardian Hotels; Hardscape; Manchester Central; The Greater Manchester Resilience Unit; Virgin Trains; City of Trees; Lazerian; and Exterior Architecture.

Conversations are already underway with regards to the potential of taking part in the Show again next year, with a tender currently live for the opportunity to design and build our 2020 garden, whilst the commercial team are opening conversations with potential sponsors and supporters interested in getting involved.

As for this year’s garden, plants and trees are set to return to Greater Manchester parks and outdoor spaces, as well as being gifted to volunteers from several Manchester-based Friends of Parks groups. One of the main benefactors of plants will be the garden at Wythenshawe Hall which is set to reopen in autumn following restoration after an arson attack in 2016.

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Manchester extends its gap on other UK cities for international visits

The end of May brought the release of the 2018 data from the International Passenger Survey which re-confirmed Manchester as the third most-visited destination for international visits, behind London and Edinburgh, and showed Manchester extending its gap on Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and the remaining four cities making up the top ten.

The data was released by the Office of National Statistics, with the Greater Manchester level data to follow in June, through VisitBritain, that will also provide further information on purpose of travel, country markets, and spend.

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Greater Manchester Leisure Visitors Survey 2018 results

The latest research into the leisure visitor market showed that visitors rated their experience of Greater Manchester at an average of 4.5 out of 5.  Particularly positive feedback was received for: the nightlife; shopping offer; eating offer; and cultural offer, whilst negative feedback was fed back on the ‘overall cleanliness’ of the destination, with 13% of visitors rating as poor or very poor, and for the ‘signage for getting around on foot’, with 9% of visitors rating poor or very poor.

Around half of visitors (48%) visited more than one district of Greater Manchester during their trip and 17% visited somewhere outside of Greater Manchester, as part of their trip, with Liverpool and London being the most cited.  Whilst in Greater Manchester, day visitors reported that they spent an average of £46, with this daily spend figure rising to £50 for a visitor staying with friends and family, and £130 spent per day by a visitor staying in paid-for accommodation.

Marketing Manchester commissioned the Greater Manchester Leisure Visitors Survey 2018, in partnership with Manchester Business Improvement District and Transport for Greater Manchester.

The survey was required to provide a comprehensive intelligence base on Greater Manchester’s leisure visitor, and to update the knowledge gained through the 2014 survey. The research was delivered through 785 face-to-face interviews across 22 sites in Manchester, Salford & Trafford, by Bluegrass Research Limited, and also gained information on where visitors were travelling from, how they were travelling into Greater Manchester and around Greater Manchester, and what they did whilst here.  Visitors provided feedback on the platforms and sources of information they used to inform their visit, prior to, and during their visit.

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Manchester Convention Bureau attends IMEX Frankfurt

Manchester Convention Bureau (MCB) attended IMEX Frankfurt – the world’s biggest exhibitions for incentive travel, meetings and events professional – from 21-23 May 2019. Sharing a pod with Manchester Central on a dedicated stand facilitated by VisitEngland, the MCB had 22 one-to-one appointments over three days: ten meetings with professional conference organisers and 12 meetings with associations seeking a destination for their upcoming meetings and conferences.

Additional activity undertaken by the MCB at the event included being part of a north of England presentation in partnership with Leeds, NewcastleGateshead and Liverpool that promoted the region as a leading destination. The MCB also attended a VisitEngland breakfast briefing on day one of the exhibition, which provided networking opportunities with 25 US conference buyers.

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Manchester: the ‘only logical’ location to grow a FinTech firm

Working with colleagues at MIDAS to mark UK FinTech Week, Marketing Manchester’s Manchester Content Curator secured high profile endorsement and media coverage for the city’s FinTech community. In an exclusive Q&A captured during MIDAS’s UK FinTech Week event in Manchester, OakNorth COO Amir Nooriala described Manchester as the ‘only logical place outside London’ to grow a FinTech firm. OakNorth is currently Europe’s most valuable FinTech. Amir’s comments in support of Manchester appeared in this article with the global banking and FinTech title Banking Futures.

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Attendance at Explore GB

ExploreGB, VisitBritain’s flagship trade event was held in Harrogate 8-10 May 2019. The event brought together over 310 UK suppliers and 250 international buyers and 20 international media for two days of one-to-one appointments. Marketing Manchester attended and had 49 meetings held across two days, promoting Manchester product include new bookable product created as part of the Discover England Fund. 109 international buyers also experienced the best of Greater Manchester via 11 educational trips post-event.

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Support for El Al Tel Aviv route launch

The new non-stop route from Tel Aviv to Manchester commenced on Sunday 26 May with the press team at Marketing Manchester hosting five journalists that travelled on the inaugural flight, showcasing Manchester and its position as Gateway to the North. The three-weekly flight by national carrier El Al is an important development for the region as Tel Aviv is rapidly developing into a tech and IT hub and seeing strong economic growth with a commensurate increase in outbound travel. Marketing Manchester is also working with the airline to deliver a multi-channel campaign to put Manchester on visitor’s radar during a key booking period.

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New non-stop Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles

Marketing Manchester has undertaken several activities to support the launch of a new non-stop, three-weekly route to Manchester from Los Angeles with Virgin Atlantic. In the run up to the inaugural flight, which took off on Sunday 26 May, the team delivered a series of sales calls through the week commencing Monday 20 May, engaging approxtely 50 key travel agents within the Greater Los Angeles area. This activity culminated with a special reception for 30 key contacts within the travel industry, which took place at the Consul General’s Residence in Los Angeles.

The new route connects Manchester directly with the United States biggest West Coast city and Marketing Manchester’s work to support the route is an ongoing priority for 2019/20 and beyond. Launch activity and will be followed by several media events, continued engagement with US travel trade and a full marketing campaign in the coming months.

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Apprentice, artist and theatre director join #CitizensofMCR campaign

New additions are being made all the time to Marketing Manchester’s CitizensofMCR campaign to tell the story of the city through its people. Citizens added in May include Humaira Khan, a content executive at Tangerine PR, who earned apprenticeship through the Juice Academy; Contact Theatre Director Matt Fenton; and artist and sculptor Liam Hopkins, who created a sculpture for The Manchester Garden at The Chelsea Flower Show. Go to to see all the #CitizensofMCR.

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Save the date: Greater Manchester Tourism Conference 2019

The fourth annual Greater Manchester Tourism Conference will be held on Thursday 17 October 2019 and is a must for your diary. The full day Conference promises to be one of the highlights of the year for Marketing Manchester members and stakeholders.  Last year’s event at Crowne Plaza & Staybridge Suites Manchester – Oxford Road was rated very highly by delegates and we look forward to welcoming you all this year to Manchester Central.

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Greater Manchester Clean Air consultation – have your say

Poor air quality contributes to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths a year in Greater Manchester. Air pollution plays a part in breathing illnesses, heart disease, stroke, and even some cancers. It particularly affects the vulnerable including the elderly, people with health conditions, and children. However, it reduces everyone’s life expectancy by an average of six months. Polluted air is now the biggest environmental risk to public health linked to deaths in the UK.

Although air quality is improving in Greater Manchester, we exceed legal annual limits for harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in many areas. Road transport is responsible for 80% of NO2 pollution at the roadside. The largest and heaviest older diesel vehicles, such as HGVs and buses, have the highest emissions per vehicle.

The 10 Greater Manchester local authorities are working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to produce a Clean Air Plan to tackle NO2 exceedances.

The Clean Air Plan proposals outline the introduction of a Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone from 2021. This would mean that non-compliant buses, taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses, HGVs, LGVs and coaches would pay a penalty to drive into, and within, the GM boundary. Cars would not pay a fine. The proposals also include measures to support local businesses and organisations to upgrade their vehicles to ensure they are compliant and do not need to pay a penalty.

You or your colleagues may be affected by the current proposals and it’s important that the team leading it receive a wide-ranging feedback to inform the proposals. The 1st stage of informal consultation on these proposals will be live until 23 June. This is an opportunity for you and your colleagues to relay how the proposals will affect you. Your feedback, along with further statutory consultation, will be used to inform the final plan by the end of the year.

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Recent press coverage wins

Marketing Manchester’s press team carry out a year-round programme of press visits and media engagement to win national and international coverage for Greater Manchester. Below are a few recent highlights that you may like to read and share:

Industrial Revelation – Business Traveler Magazine (USA)

Manchester: The Cultural Alternative – Reis & Co (Netherlands)

Manchester Comes to Chelsea for Eco Showcase – The i (UK)

The Chelsea Flower Show Manchester film – BBC2 (UK – from 21 mins, available to watch until 22 June)

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What’s new in Greater Manchester: June 2019

Distributed to consumer travel and leisure media contacts, Marketing Manchester’s monthly What’s New update is an important piece of media relations work to keep journalists and influencers from around the world up to date on the latest developments, openings and trends across the city-region. To view this month’s newsletter, click here.

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