MIA research signals recovery underway

Research conducted by the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) has shown the first signs of a recovery within the UK conference industry. The survey, carried out among the association’s 650 members, identified longer lead times and also increased occupancy levels towards the end of 2003. Venues reported an increase in average lead times for event bookings, up from 1.9 months during the first quarter of the year to 2.6 months for the period July to September. Average conference room occupancy stood at 58%, up 10% on 2002 but down 10% on initial predictions. Although a third of all meetings required residential accommodation, day-long events remain the most common at 49%. The average day delegate rate throughout the summer was £45. MIA executive director Ruth Dawson said that the statistics suggested "a cautious but sustainable recovery", and added that she expected to see further evidence of an upturn in business over the next year.

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