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York Barbican to Host Liberal Democrat Party Conference


4:15pm 17th June 2013
(Updated 5:24pm 17th June 2013)

The York Barbican will play host to the 2014 Liberal Democrat Spring Conference it's been announced.

It's hoped it'll help boost the city’s business tourism sector. The three day conference will be held in March 2014 at the York Barbican Centre with the Novotel Hotel as the party conference headquarters for the duration of the event.

Previously held in Liverpool, Glasgow and Brighton, it is the first time in the party’s history that they have held their annual conference in York.

Over 1000 delegates are expected to attend and Visit York estimates the economic value to the city at over £600,000.

Laura Freer, Business Tourism Manager for VisitYork4Meetings, said:

‘We are delighted to have secured this bid to bring the Liberal Democrat’s conference to York.  It represents a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city’s venues to an influential audience.  Political conferences attract a vast amount of media interest, and York will benefit from this exposure.  Already recognised as one of the UK’s top leisure destinations, this conference will help put York on the map for business events”

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

"I’m delighted that the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference will be held in York for the first time next year. We’re helping to create new jobs all around the country and York is not only a beautiful city, but it’s also a great place to do business. I’m sure all our delegates will enjoy a great conference and a great stay in York."

Jane, Lady Gibson Chairman of Visit York said, ‘In 2013 Visit York launched a major new offensive to put York on the map for business events.  Winning this bid demonstrates how far we have come and we will continue to punch above our weight to ensure events and conference organisers see York as one of the most attractive cities in the UK in which to do business.’

Business tourism in York generates £150.9 million annual income for the city, with over 20,000 meetings, conferences and events taking place in York annually.  Business tourism is worth over £36 billion per annum to the national economy. Business visitors spend on average £131 per day – 72% more than the amount spent by leisure visitors on a daily basis, while visitors to UK exhibitions from overseas spend 193% more per day than leisure visitors.

The confirmation of the Spring conference follows VisitYork4Meeting’s innovative ‘York Minster to Westminster’ showcase, held at the Houses of Parliament in March. The showcase attended by the Liberal Democrats events manager promoted York’s business tourism venues and services to UK and international conference organisers.

York Minster to Westminster’ was part of Visit York’s business tourism strategy, which involves a range of UK and international business tourism marketing initiatives. Forthcoming activity will include further development of the Conference Ambassador Programme, a series national and international exhibitions, a further showcase event and sales days promoting York as one of the UK’s top city destinations for conferences and events.

Labour Leader of City of York Council, Coun. James Alexander, said:

"This conference puts York on the map for political conferences and I warmly welcome that.  Anything that brings significant numbers of people to the city where they will spend money is good for the local economy and good for York.  It is ironic though that the Liberal Democrat party is holding its Spring Conference in a building that York Liberal Democrats left empty for almost eight years of council control".

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on City of York Council, responded:
“I am delighted that the Liberal Democrat Party has chosen York for the 2014 Spring Conference. It is a tremendous vote of confidence in the city as a top-class conference venue and will be a welcome boost for the hospitality sector. I am particularly pleased that the Barbican will be hosting the event and this proves that the £1.5 million refurbishment carried out under the previous Lib Dem administration is helping to attract major events and bring money into York. It is an exciting time for the Lib Dems in York as we work towards 2015 with a growing local team and I can’t wait to welcome colleagues from across the country so they can see at first-hand our work and enjoy our wonderful city.”
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