HIC ‘back in black’ after tough times

Harrogate International Cent-
re (HIC) has announced its best 
financial result since 2009.

Wednesday, 4th March 2015, 5:18 pm
Harrogate International Centre. (S)

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 news comes after a year of high-profile events, 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.

“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 £65m 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 that the strong results for HIC, which won a £450,000 business rate rebate in 2014, came despite the high annual running costs associated with the Royal Hall and Sun Pavilion, both of which come under the management of the HIC.

“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 winning to bring in the visitors and maintain HIC’s profile within the events industry.”

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said it was “excellent that HIC was back in the black”.

He added: “HIC is the powerhouse behind a large part of our local visitor economy. It fills our hotels and guest houses and supplies a steady stream of customers for restaurants, coffee shops and all the facilities and attractions that make up our tourist offer.”