The international Rotarian convention that came to Birmingham last week pumped nearly £25 million into the city’s coffers.
The influx of 20,000 to the conference held at the NEC was worth huge amounts of money to local hotels, shops, attractions and businesses – at least 20 per cent more than originally predicted, according to Marketing Birmingham.
The highest percentage of foreign visitors – nearly one in three – came from North America, followed by Europe (27.9 per cent), Asia (27.4 per cent), Africa (ten per cent), Oceania (three per cent) and South America (1.9 per cent).
The Rotary Host Organising Committee worked with local bodies – including Marketing Birmingham – to arrange the event, one of the biggest in Birmingham.
Organisers said the success of the event was a tribute to a host city and paved the way for many more large conventions to be held there.
Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, said: “We based our estimate on delegates staying a minimum number of nights to be present for the convention but everyone you spoke to had plans to stay and explore the region, and visit other parts of the country while they were here. The majority of visitors had travelled long distances to get here and so it’s great news that their visits for business have had a direct impact on leisure tourism. Our strategy for major events is to attract those which bring large visitor numbers, profile and economic impact and the Rotary International Convention ticked every box.
‘‘We had business people and opinion-formers from all over the world in Birmingham, experiencing a city many have probably never visited and having a great time doing it. At a time when competition is increasingly tough it’s important that we maximise these opportunities and after the success of the Rotary International Convention I am keen to ensure we maintain the momentum.”
Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby said: “The Rotary International Convention is a globally significant event and to host it in its 100th year was an honour for our city. The event also helped to create a special atmosphere in the city for those living and working in Birmingham to enjoy. Walking through Victoria Square you could hear accents from all over the world, as visitors basked in the sunshine and enjoyed friendship and fine food.
“Birmingham truly pulled out the stops to welcome the Rotarians, and I am confident we will have made 20,000 new friends who will return home and become true ambassadors for our city.”