Birmingham is to host the Tory party conference in 2012, providing a major economic boost for the city.

Conservative chairman Eric Pickles said the party was bringing its conference to the city for the third time, gathering at the international Convention Centre in 2012.

Mr Pickles said the Tories were abandoning their tradition of holding conferences in seaside towns such as Blackpool and Brighton in favour of modern facilities in Birmingham and Manchester.

But he revealed that some party members were “amazed” when the party held its first annual conference in the city, in 2008, and they discovered that Birmingham was a modern city with good facilities.

The 2008 conference generated an estimated £28 million for the local economy. Conservatives will also be back again this summer, for a post-election celebration if they win the upcoming poll - or a possible battle to choose a new leader if they lose.

Mr Pickles said: “Birmingham really led the way in 2008 in showing what modern conference facilities should be.

“You have a bit of rivalry with Manchester because they were good, but you’ve certainly shown what was possible in a way that a lot of our previous locations have just kind of drifted back a bit in time.

“I can remember very vividly the sheer amazement on delegate’s faces in terms of what was available so I think it’s a really good decision. And it’s an easy place to get to, and it is after all Britain’s second city.

“We went to Brighton and it was pretty good. But it’s just such a big difference in what’s available, in terms of the auditorium, in terms of the technology that’s there, in terms of the layout.

“I’m not surprised a number of the bigger seaside resorts are now starting to reinvest, because having seen what’s possible in Birmingham.”

The 2008 conference took place as the extent of the banking crisis became clear and Shadow Chancellor George Osborne was summoned back to London for a meeting with the Chancellor Alistair Darling.

There was some embarrassment for the party when it emerged delegates had been given an official welcome pack which included a £10 discount voucher for a lap-dancing club in Broad Street.

MP Andrew Mitchell said: “The 2008 conference was a great opportunity to showcase the city and I know there were delegates who had never been here before who were really delighted with the conference facilities and what Birmingham offered.”

Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, said: “This will be the sixth political conference Birmingham has hosted in five years and is a clear sign of the confidence that the major political parties now have in the city’s ability to deliver a world-class event.”