In its short life it has played host to prime ministers, princes and presidents and has even staged the draw for an international football tournament.

Tonight, VIPs will be attending a gala dinner to mark the 15th anniversary of Birmingham's International Convention Centre and the outstanding success of the UK's largest selection of conference facilities available under one roof.

The ICC, planned by Birmingham City Council as part of the Brindley-place redevelopment, opened for business on April 2, 1991. The first event was the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress which has returned annually since.

A year later the ICC s taged an emergency European Union summit and in 1998 Birmingham attracted worldwide recognition when world lead-ers, including President Clinton, attended the G8 summit. In the same year the Lions International Convention became one of the largest conferences staged in Britain.

With more than 2.5 million visitors since it opened, the ICC has staged more than 6,000 events, conferences and banquets, large and small.

Highlights have included the launches of Peugeot 206 and 307, and the draw for the Euro 96 football tournament.

Nick Waight, director ICC, said: "This is a very proud day for The ICC and Birmingham as it celebrates 15 years of outstanding success in conferences, banquets and events.

"The ICC is an important part of Birmingham, generating around £200 million for the city and sustaining the equivalent of 5,000 full-time jobs.

"We are looking forward to further building on this success with many exciting plans for the future, including investment in facilities and technology, training for employees and a refurbishment of the mall in the autumn. I want to say a huge thank you to all employees and the people of Birmingham and West Midlands for their support in making our venue the success that it is today.

"The team here at The ICC pride themselves on delivering memorable customer experiences and creating a vibrant and exciting atmosphere for any delegate, at any event.

"I look forward building on our reputation as the number one conference venue in the UK."