Attendance at trade shows is one of the most important elements of our work to promote Greater Manchester to a global audience as a place to visit, invest, meet and study, and the Marketing Manchester team would usually take part in one or two shows per month in pre-Covid times.

We were therefore delighted to restart our attendance at trade shows at the end of last month as part of our plan towards the gradual recovery of the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector.

First up was Britain & Ireland Marketplace (BIM) which is organised by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA). Attended by key destinations, attractions and tourism providers from the UK and Ireland, this year’s virtual event saw Tim Manley and Emma Gordon from our marketing team meet with 22 tour operators from the US, Europe and Asia for 10-minute “speed-dating” appointments. The agents met were all positively looking forward to the re-opening of travel, busy planning their programmes for the 2022 season and actively looking for new bookable products to include in their itineraries. There was lots of interest in Greater Manchester and in the new bookable experiences being developed in the city as part of the Discover England Fund project.

International Media Marketplace (IMM) North America also took place late January, attended by Andy Parkinson from our PR and communications team. IMM is one of the travel industry’s best media networking events, with around 500 American and Canadian journalists, broadcasters and content creators in attendance. Andy had 24 virtual meetings with media colleagues to pitch ideas, discuss trends and plan future media visits to Greater Manchester when possible to do so again. Our 21 new things to look forward to in Greater Manchester in 2021 – and beyond content formed the main basis of discussion and was very warmly received.

And this week, Stephanie Newton and the Manchester Convention Bureau team are attending MeetEngland Virtual 2021 where they have 20 one-to-one meetings scheduled with meeting agencies, event and incentive planners within the North American, European and Chinese markets. To kick start the event the team – along with representatives from the English Core Cities – launched Hybrid Event Solutions UK, a free new service that will deliver a series of live event hubs across the UK, allowing delegates to attend the same national event at Covid-secure venues.

Upcoming trade shows of note that Marketing Manchester are attending include: VisitBritain’s travel trade event ExploreGB Virtual 1-4 March; North American Marketplace on 4 March which will replicate ETOA’s BIM format but for a North American audience; and global travel meeting ITB Berlin 9-12 March.