Press release: Manchester events sector continues to grow as visitor figures increase 132%

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  • Visitor numbers up 132% on previous quarter 

  • Venue adds £35.6m in economic value to city-region in last quarter 

  • ‘2024 will be Manchester’s biggest year yet’ says CEO 

Figures released today by one of the UK’s largest event venues have reignited whispers that the North West could fast become the UK’s predominant events capital.  

In its latest business results, the 10,000-capacity Manchester Central venue has signalled a quarterly growth across the board in visitor figures, event bookings and venue revenue.

The city-centre venue welcomed over 143,275 visitors to 40 separate events in the last three months of the year (October - December 2023), a significant 132 per cent increase in visitors on the previous quarter, and up 50,000 on the same period in 2022. Meanwhile, total revenue for the venue in the quarter also increased by £2m from £3.8m to £6.6m.

Maximising the inbound tourism created by events in the city, the figures also showed the city centre venue directly contributed £35.6 million to the Greater Manchester economy in the past quarter through secondary sales in hospitality and hotel bookings, from those organising and attending events at Manchester Central. The Conservative Party Conference, held at the venue in October, contributed £20m alone in economic value.  

Full year figures (Jan-Dec 2023) revealed the venue welcomed nearly half a million delegates (459,042) to a total 156 events held on site.

More than 85 events are already confirmed to take place at the venue in 2024 including the globally recognised HYROX fitness championships last weekend, the much-anticipated World Snooker Championships, July’s MegaCon Live which is expected to welcome over 15,000 attendees and the prestigious international music convention, WOMEX, in October.  

The results follow further global recognition for the North West’s economic growth as it continues to position itself as a must-visit destination in 2024. The past 12 months have seen both Manchester and Liverpool take flight in becoming a hot spot for high-profile events, welcoming the likes of Eurovision 2023, the Chanel 2023/24 Métiers d'art show, and in sports - the Davis Cup and the British Weight Lifting Open.  

In December, Manchester was the only UK city in National Geographic's influential ‘Best of the World’ list which annually sets out 25 of the must-see places to visit around the globe, while only this month, the New York Times named the city as one of the best places to visit in the world in 2024 - the only English destination to feature.  

The accolades come as the year ahead sees the city’s ongoing cultural program continue to expand, including the grand opening of Co-Op Live, the UK's largest music venue in April, alongside further investment in the National Trust's Castlefield Viaduct project and the revamped Manchester Museum.

Chief Executive of Manchester Central, Shaun Hinds, commented:  

“Manchester is already being spotted on a global stage but I am certain that 2024 will cement its position as a UK leader in business and events.

“At Manchester Central itself, we are seeing a substantial uplift in new event enquiries, especially from events traditionally hosted in other parts of the UK, such as London and Birmingham. Businesses are quickly realising that the North is the place to be, to connect with peers and make investment deals, and we are pleased to be able to support and provide space for those companies - both national and international - who want to start hosting their conferences and events with us.

“There’s a real buzz about Manchester this year, and while we clearly are pleased with the level of interest by organisers, we also know the impact that hosting these events has on the wider economy and growth, not only of the city region but of the North West and the North overall.  

“With our extraordinarily strong regional economic growth, and city leadership which continues to boost awareness and positioning, we know that the year ahead will be Manchester’s biggest year yet in terms of inbound tourism. It’s an incredibly exciting time.” 

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