External hyper-lapse image of Leeds Town Hall at night.


Leeds climbs the rankings to be named fourth most popular conferencing destination in the UK

ConferenceLeeds is celebrating the city’s continued success, as Leeds climbs to become the fourth most popular conferencing city in the UK, according to this year’s British Meetings and Events Industry survey (BMEIS). The annual national survey provides a comprehensive overview of buying trends in the UK conference and events industry, including insight from hundreds of buyers across the association business and corporate sectors.

The report shows that the volume of events overall has seen a slight decrease in 2018 from an average of 34 to 31 events per organiser in the corporate sector, with association business events also seeing a downward trend of 23 per organiser, down from 32. However, the average number of delegates in attendance at events has increased significantly, with this now reaching 368 – up from 238 in 2017. Leeds is at the forefront of this upward trend, with recent results from the STEAM report, which measures the economic impact of the tourism industry across destinations in the UK, recording that Leeds welcomed 29.01 million tourism visits in 2017, a 6.3% increase from 2016, and contributed £212.7 million to the local economy in 2017, (UKCAMS).

The industry report highlights the continued strength of the top three cities: London, Birmingham and Manchester, which all benefit from dedicated large-scale conference facilities, but also showcases the growth and recognition of Leeds as a leading conference destination as it climbs three places from the last report in 2017. The top factors cited as influencing the selection of destinations included access, location, price and the capacity of conference facilities.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said: “We are extremely proud that Leeds has climbed three places in the rankings since last year. Leeds is a welcoming city for both business and leisure visitors and these results are a huge testament to the collaborative work of ConferenceLeeds and other leading organisations, who continue to work together to showcase Leeds as a major UK conferencing city. This achievement is fantastic because it has a direct impact to the economy which benefits everyone who lives and works here, as well as for those who visit for tourism or business purposes.”

Claire Heap, Head of ConferenceLeeds, added: “This news is the perfect way to round off a very successful year for Leeds, further highlighting the success of our city. We’ve had a series of big wins already – including a really successful year for the digital sector, rounding off with Channel 4 choosing Leeds for its headquarters. For Leeds to be achieving such results without the benefit of a large convention centre in the city truly sets it apart from its competitors. We’re also extremely interested to see how the average delegate attendance per event has increased so much in the previous year, demonstrating the city’s ability to showcase larger events with higher capacity venues.”