Economic benefits of Olympics to be discussed in the region

The Midlands branch of the leading organisation representing the UK’s hospitality industry will hear of the economic benefits in bringing the world’s greatest sporting event to the region.

The Heart of England region of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) will mark the start of English Tourism Week by hosting its regional members’ day at the Legacy Falcon Hotel in Stratford on Friday, March 9.

Daniel Gidney, chief executive of the Ricoh Arena, will be the keynote speaker to discuss how the venue has been transformed from a disused gasworks site to an Olympic venue in under a decade.

Other speakers will include the BHA’s chief executive Ufi Ibrahim, Merlin Entertainments’ strategy director David Bridgford and Bourne Leisure’s managing director Dermot King who will highlight the challenges and opportunities facing hospitality businesses and the role the industry can play in driving local economic growth.

Natalie Martin, founder of Kitch Media, will give practical advice in Harnessing the Power of Social Media and the BHA’s deputy chief executive Martin Couchman will complete the programme by talking about forthcoming legislation and current industry issues.

The Ricoh Arena, which will be known as the City of Coventry Stadium for the duration of the Olympic Games, is the only Midlands venue to be staging London 2012 Olympic events – and is expected to generate £50 million for the regional economy.

Gidney said: “We faced tough competition from other venues in the Midlands to host Olympic football matches and the economic benefits and feel-good factor will be felt long after the men’s and women’s football matches have taken place.

“This is an opportunity for the hospitality industry throughout the region to seize the chance to showcase their venue to thousands people who have never visited this area before – and ensure they return again as well as tell their friends, families and colleagues about the great time they had here.

“This is a golden moment for the hospitality industry and we must all be working in the same direction to make sure we attract future international audiences for conferences and exhibitions.”

Jason Mayglothling, general manager of the Legacy Falcon Hotel in Chapel Street, said the meeting was expected to attract around 50 owners, general managers, finance and operations managers and marketing directors from the West and East Midlands.

“The conference will be a mix of inspirational speakers and the opportunity to network with other leading hospitality businesses in the West and East Midlands,” he said.

“The Heart of England region has a major role to play in the BHA and this event gives members the chance to have their voices heard as well as find out more about encouraging the growth and competitiveness of the UK hospitality industry.

“Hosting the Olympics in the Midlands means the world’s greatest sporting spectacle will be taking place on our doorstep and this is a great chance to welcome visitors from across the globe to our towns and cities as well as highlight that the benefits of London 2012 are not confined to our capital city.”

James Bowie, chairman of the Heart of England region of the BHA, added: “At the start of the first English Tourism Week this is a perfect opportunity to get all the movers and shakers in the hospitality sector in the West and East Midlands together.

“This is going to be an extremely important 12 months for the industry and inviting our members to the Legacy Falcon Hotel means they have the chance to work with the hospitality industry to create the BHA agenda on a local level and influence policy at national level during Olympic year and beyond.”