HIC “back in black” after tough time for conference industry

Harrogate International Centre (HIC Yorkshire) has announced its best financial result since 2009.

The venue’s director Simon Kent said the business was expected to see a profit of more than £270,000 at the end of April and he praised staff and customers for “their faith in HIC” over the past 12 months.

The good news comes after a year of high-profile events for Harrogate, including the hosting of the month-long Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, the first BBC Good Food Show Spring and a brace of industry awards.

Mr Kent said: “The last few years have been difficult for the conference and exhibition industry but HIC has managed not only to keep its major clients during the tough times but also exceed its sales forecast for this year by about half-a-million pounds.  This shows a lot of faith in the business, not only from customers but also our staff, and I thank them all.

“HIC’s purpose is to keep on bringing in the hundreds of thousands of business and leisure visitors to the town who, last year, were worth £65million to the local economy but we also have to break even as a business; we have obviously achieved both of those things.”

Mr Kent said HIC had also successfully won a business rate rebate in 2014 which was worth £450,000.

He said that the strong results came despite the high annual running costs associated with the Royal Hall and Sun Pavilion, both of which come under the management of the International Centre.

“While maintaining this kind of success will rely on a lot of hard work and commitment, there are definitely reasons for optimism in 2015,” he said.

“We have the return of the BBC Good Food Show in April and The Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in August but we have other high-profile public events such as the Cake & Bake show in June.

The WI has also just signed up to bring its Centenary Fair to HIC in September, which will be another big event bringing thousands of visitors over four days.

“These are the kind of events we need to keep wining to bring in the visitors and maintain HIC’s profile within the events industry.”

Auditorium sun
Harrogate International Centre


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