Last month we delivered our annual Greater Manchester Tourism Conference with a full programme looking ahead to the next ten years of tourism for the city-region: what direction the industry is heading in and, most importantly, what we want to achieve collectively within a decade.
You can read more about the conference in our story below; however, the overall tone of the conference was overwhelmingly positive with a feeling that Greater Manchester is on the cusp of a game-changing new chapter in our development as a tourism destination.
Opening the conference, Sheona Southern, managing director at Marketing Manchester singled out key developments such as the unprecedented growth in our hotel bedstock, with +30% growth and 6,500 new bedrooms incoming; increased routes into Manchester Airport and the next phase completion of the £1 billion transformation programme next summer; and the bumper £300 million investment in culture over the coming years with developments like The Factory and RHS Garden Bridgewater set to offer new opportunities to attract visitors.
Greater Manchester’s visitor economy continues to perform well, and recent International Passenger Survey results revealed a 5% increase in the number of international visitors to the region in 2018, compared to an overall decrease of 3% across the UK as a whole. Our visitor economy is now worth £8.4 billion and supports equivalent of 96,000 jobs.
There really is a lot to celebrate, but we must also be cautious because of Brexit. A recent survey undertaken by the Growth Company revealed that over 40% of businesses had not made any strategic plans for Brexit. And whilst we may be uncertain as to what the future brings, we do know that we are likely to face challenges: the volatility of Sterling; importing and exporting of goods and services; regulatory changes; and non-EU employees leaving the UK, leading to skills gaps and staff shortages, which could be a particularly difficult challenge for the tourism and hospitality industry.
However, it isn’t just Brexit that presents challenges to tourism, or indeed the wider success of Greater Manchester as a place to visit, work, study and live. New cities of a similar size to Greater Manchester are springing up across the globe, particularly in Asia, and they are increasingly competing for talent, capital, tourists, students and investment. Business as usual is not an option any more in terms of marketing Greater Manchester – the real challenge we have ahead of us is to maintain our current, very visible, momentum in the face of intense global competition.
It is with this in mind that in partnership with MIDAS and the GMCA we have recently commissioned The Business of Cities, a city strategy agency, to undertake a crucial benchmarking exercise for Greater Manchester. The resulting report is a fascinating deep dive into our global position, taking 500 different indices into account to present a clear picture of where we should be focusing our marketing efforts and storytelling.
We’re currently analysing the report and strategising with top-level findings; however, we will share it in due course as we set our sights on the successful future promotion of Greater Manchester and keeping up the region’s phenomenal momentum.
News in brief
Mayoral India mission secures 600-job pipeline worth £45 million to Greater Manchester economy
As reported last month Marketing Manchester worked alongside the Manchester India Partnership (MIP) to deliver a high-level Greater Manchester delegation to India in October.
Led by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, the 30-strong delegation visit to Bangladesh (3-5 October) and India (6-11 October), has been revealed to have resulted in a series of deals and partnerships as well as seven investment projects which, if successful, could create more than 600 jobs and £45m GVA for Greater Manchester.
The overall purpose of the Mayoral visit was to capitalise on an economic opportunity between India, Greater Manchester and the wider North of England estimated to be worth £400 million, while also strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two regions. The MIP hosted a series of events in India, including major receptions in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi to engage with Indian businesses of all scale and drive future collaboration between the two regions. Around 1,000 people engaged with the delegation throughout the visit.
Highlights from the visit included memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between University of Salford and Karnataka State Higher Education Council (Bangalore); Manchester Museum and the Partition Museum, Amritsar (Delhi); and MediaCityUK’s The Landing and Famous Studios (Mumbai).
Asha Bhosle, Bollywood icon and owner of Manchester’s Asha’s restaurant, was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford in Mumbai, while in Bangalore, Lancashire County Cricket Club announced the team would complete its pre-season tour in India next year.
Speaking about the inaugural Indian trade mission Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “There’s huge history between Greater Manchester and India and it was great to strengthen ties while visiting the country last week. There are more than 50,000 members of the Indian community living in Greater Manchester and I visited India not just to strengthen trade, investment, tourism, culture and educational ties – but out of respect for the part their parents and grandparents played in developing our city into what it is today.
“I want to work with the next generation of Indians to drive new opportunities for both regions. This is the time to give back through partnership and write a new chapter. That partnership is based on equality and mutual benefit, which was perfectly represented by the announcements we made in India last week, acknowledging our past while building new opportunities for the future.”
To find out more, contact James.Turner@marketingmanchester.com
Bumper month for business tourism activity
October proved to be a particularly busy month of activity for Manchester Convention Bureau.
Attending the UK Sport Event Partners Day on 17 October, the team had the opportunity promote Manchester in collaboration with Manchester Active and Manchester City Council to national Sports Governing Bodies who are looking to bring sporting events to UK destinations. Coinciding with this event was the fantastic news that Manchester will host the 2020 World Para Powerlifting World Cup in February, which is one of the final qualification events for athletes aspiring to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Next up the team hosted a familarisation trip in partnership with Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines, showcasing the destination to six conference organisers from Travel and Transport – a global company that provides conference solutions to small and very large numbers – over two days.
Immediately after this our senior international sales manager attended the 58th ICCA Congress in Houston. ICCA is the International Congress and Convention Association – the global community and knowledge hub for the international meetings industry. Over the three days, the conference offered exceptional networking opportunities with senior level association CEOs and directors as well as high-level education and knowledge opportunities focused on the international meetings industry.
Rounding off the month, the team assisted our communications team to host three conference-focused media outlets on a dedicated media visit to showcase the destination. Outlets included Convene (US), HQ (Europe) and Conference News (UK), and the trip also included a representative from VisitBritain.
To find out more, contact Stephanie.Newton@marketingmanchester.com
Marketing Manchester delivers sell-out tourism conference
The fourth annual Greater Manchester Tourism Conference took place on Thursday 17 October 2019, providing a full programme of high-profile speakers, films, workshops, interviews, Q&A and panel sessions talks for 150 delegates working within the tourism and hospitality sector in Greater Manchester and the North of England.
The theme for the day was a look at the future of tourism in the next ten years as Marketing Manchester begins work on the next iteration of the Greater Manchester Tourism Strategy for beyond 2020. Local, national and international speakers covered topics as varied as the future of music tourism and where the hotel sector is heading, to changing our views on ageing and the impact of introducing tourism taxes.
Feedback from delegates has been overwhelmingly positive and the conference itself caused a buzz on social media with 259 tweets using the conference hashtag #GMTC19 reaching over 273,700 people. A one point in the day the conference hashtag was the third most popular hashtag being using in Manchester.
Marketing Manchester would like to extend a huge thank you to the team at the Crowne Plaza & Staybridge Suites Manchester – Oxford Road who did a fantastic job looking after delegates with many comments about the spaces, quality of food and drink, and wonderful welcome.
To find out more, contact Jane.Randall@marketingmanchester.com
Major investment news as Huawei and Siemens commit to Greater Manchester
October was a fantastic month for inward investment news as two global brands made a firm commitment to Greater Manchester.
First up, Huawei, the leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) solutions, announced it will be opening a new office at MediaCityUK. The new 3,500 square foot office space located in the Blue Tower building will be the company’s first in the North West of England and will serve as a base of operations for Huawei as it looks to develop its business in the Northern Powerhouse.
The office will house several of Huawei’s key business operations including customer account teams, the Huawei Network Design Centre and Huawei’s Delivery Operations Centre for the north of the UK. It was announced that initially upwards of 50 roles will be allocated at the new facility, with a view to doubling that headcount by 2022.
Also in October, engineering and tech giant Siemens announced that it is to move its UK headquarters to Manchester in a move that will create 60 jobs in the city. The company, which has had a distinctive white office on Princess Road in West Didsbury for 30 years, has previous based its head office in Surrey, but will now move to make Manchester its head office.
Commenting on the latter, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The news that Manchester is the new headquarters for Siemens UK is a great vote of confidence in Greater Manchester. The move is a real boost as we implement our Local Industrial Strategy which aims to raise productivity in sectors where Siemens is a world leader: advanced materials, cyber-security and digitalisation of industries.”
To find out more, contact James.Turner@marketingmanchester.com
Essential read: Marketing Manchester Review 2018/19
The Marketing Manchester Review 2018/19 is now complete, sharing the success of our key projects and activity across all areas of the business. Easy to navigate and with numerous useful links, the review is broken into 20 sections with detailed analysis and statistics to demonstrate the impact of our work and the breadth of our reach.
From Business Tourism and the Discover England Fund to MIPIM and our key market work in USA, China, India and the GCC; the review is a must-read for any Marketing Manchester stakeholder that wants to know what we do and talk to us about future collaboration.
To find out more, contact Louise.Latham@marketingmanchester.com
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:
Manchester: an ideal plan – Yo Dona (Spain)
If Manchester were… – Marco Polo travel guide (Italy)
Manchester – Wide Oyster blog (Netherlands)
Top sights and activities in Manchester – Anne Travel Foodie blog (Netherlands)
Travel through ceramic country (Gateway to the North of England messaging) – The Hindu (India)
Manchester, science and culture city – Chosun.com (South Korea)
To find out more, contact Andy.Parkinson@marketingmanchester.com
What’s new in Greater Manchester: November 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.
To find out more, contact Andy.Parkinson@marketingmanchester.com.