Birmingham and the West Midlands has fought off competition from cities and countries across the world – including Miami, Spain, Greece, Japan and Dubai – to be named Event Destination of the Year at the EN (Exhibition News) Supplier Awards.
After a year which saw the West Midlands in the international spotlight thanks to events including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the region beat major overseas destinations to win the top prize at an awards ceremony for the exhibitions industry.
Birmingham and the West Midlands Convention Bureau, part of the West Midlands Growth Company, took home the accolade at the EN Supplier Awards 2023. Organised by Exhibition News magazine, the awards celebrate the role that suppliers play in driving forward the exhibitions industry and delivering innovative, sustainable and inspirational shows.
Neil Rami, chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, said:
"The West Midlands has long been a favourite for exhibition organisers, but 2022 took us to new heights – showcasing not only our ability to host major events on a global scale, but also the potential for those events to bring huge cultural and economic benefits to the region.
"Winning this award is testament to the fantastic work delivered by all the unsung heroes in our exhibitions sector.
“We are confident there'll be plenty more to look forward to in the months and years to come as our West Midlands business events and accommodation offer continues to grow."
Birmingham and the West Midlands’ central location, rich heritage, and the breadth and versatility of its event spaces and accommodation settings helped to welcome 10.1 million local, national and international delegates in 2019, the final year when business events were not disrupted or affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
New openings and redevelopments across the West Midlands’ events and exhibitions sector during the past 12 months include the multi-million-pound refurbishment of The Halls in Wolverhampton, which opened in May. Leonardo Royal Hotel – with 20 meetings and events spaces – underwent a £8 million redesign and rebrand from Jury’s Inn Birmingham before relaunching in April. Edgbaston Stadium unveiled a new Skyline roof-top terrace hospitality offering this summer, promising one of the most unique spaces in the world to enjoy a cricket match.
In the coming months, Switch Hospitality Management will launch Aparthotel Birmingham on the site of the former Royal Angus Hotel in Snowhill, while work is being carried out on a new £6 million entertainment and events Box Space in the west of Wolverhampton city centre.
These new venues and redevelopments add to established event spaces in the region, such as the UK’s largest exhibition venue, the NEC.
Kelly Haslehurst, Marketing Director for Conventions and Exhibitions at the NEC Group, said:
“We’re proud to have played a part in being named Event Destination of the Year, a prestigious accolade which is testament to the hard work of event professionals across Birmingham and the West Midlands.
“Over the past 12 months the region has shown its ability to come together to put on standout events and exhibitions for organisers and visitors.
“The NEC has a rich legacy of hosting some of the UK’s most loved events, including the BBC Good Food Show, Spring Fair International and Crufts, welcoming 2.3 million visitors through the doors of our venue.
“We truly believe the NEC is a venue with endless possibilities, as we continue to develop our offering to deliver above and beyond expectations and help keep Birmingham and the West Midlands at the forefront of the events industry.”
For more information about the region’s exhibitions offer for organisers and delegates, visit meetbirmingham.com.