Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council and Chair of the Harrogate Convention Centre board, updated councillors on the centre’s performance at a council meeting yesterday (Wednesday 10 February).
Councillor Cooper reported to colleagues: “The purpose and vision of the Convention Centre is to deliver high quality conferences, exhibitions and events that bring maximum economic impact and prosperity to the district.
“It is important to emphasise that this is for the district. And that can be demonstrated by the astonishing statistic that almost 9 out of 10 people who come to Harrogate Convention Centre for business return to the district for leisure. This is streets ahead of other venues.
“Until July 2021 the venue was closed for events but, following re-opening, the country’s first major trade event was hosted at the Convention Cnetre as part of the government’s research programme looking at how to re-open safely.
“And the valuable information this research provided to the nationwide events industry on how to run events safely was just one more part of the centre’s COVID journey. We all know that it was one of the UK’s nightingales and, although thankfully not needed for COVID patients, hosted large numbers of diagnostic appointments in a clean and COVID-safe environment.
“On top of this, two-thirds of the Convention Centre’s staff supported other council services enabling us, even at the peak of infections, to keep services running.
“The immediate economic impact for our district of the Convention Centre is huge. Due to COVID the last full year for which we have figures is 2019/20. According to Visit Britain’s methodology, HCC contributed £29m into our local economy – and that doesn’t include the economic impact of the return visits I mentioned earlier.
“Finally, we have established the Destination Management Organisation. for the district. I invite colleagues and anyone watching to visit the website www.destinationharrogate.co.uk to see for themselves the vision for the organisation, crisply and cleanly laid out.”
The full report that was received by the council can be read here.