East of England targets new media and electronic sectors for C&I growth

East of England Tourism looks to new sectors and promotes unique venues

East of England targets new media and electronics sectors for C&I growth
East of England targets new media and electronics sectors for C&I growth

The east of England is promoting its unique venues and targeting the new media and electronic sectors for growth in C&I business for 2009.

A unique venue search engine launched last year on East of England Tourism's website that now attracts around 4,500 monthly searches - a figure that has been growing by 10% month-on-month over the past nine months.

East of England Tourism Keith Brown said: "We believe it is a reaction to the current economic climate. City-centre venues are having a tough time as residential meetings become non-residential. If organisers can squeeze all their business into one day, they will. And, if you are staying in just one venue, it is better if it is unique."

East of England intends to capitalise in the interest by encouraging venues to improve their quality.

"We are trying to get more consistency in the quality of those operations and are working with Visit Britain and Visit England to see how we can do that," Brown said.

NEW INDUSTRIES
The region is seeing a move away from C&I bookings from the financial and automotive industries, said Brown. "We are looking at new media and electronics, especially in Cambridge, which is our version of Silicon Valley. A lot of new media companies are relocating to Cambridge so I think there are opportunities in that sector," he added.

The region has seen a rise in companies booking out properties exclusively.

"Goldman Sachs is taking over National Trust properties for its graduate recruitment days, for example, whereas before they might have used a central London hotel," Brown said.

East of England is also in negotiations with Olympic Games sponsors such as Samsung and MacDonald's regarding hospitality programmes in 2012.

INTERNATIONAL BOOKINGS
International bookings are showing growth, said Brown, as companies take advantage of the low-cost carriers at the region's Stansted and Luton airports.

"More people are organising international meetings in and around airports as they can fly delegates in at a low cost," he said.

Forthcoming new venues in the region include arts and culture centre First Site, set to open in Colchester in 2010 with extensive meeting spaces and a 200-seat auditorium.

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