Harrogate Convention Centre boss says town is 'raring to go' as Gift Fair returns as part of Government's pilot events next month

The director of Harrogate Convention Centre has been talking about the excitement of being back in business after securing the town's biggest conference event since the pandemic started.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 10:59 am
Harrogate Convention Centre.
Harrogate Convention Centre.

Paula Lorimer, Director at Harrogate Convention Centre, was speaking following an announcement that the Home and Gift Buyers’ Festival and the Manchester Furniture Show at Harrogate Convention Centre has been chosen as part of the government’s events research programme (ERP) pilot.

In partnership with organisers, the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport, and Public Health England, the events will be part of the government’s programme to help get audiences back safely into the wider events sector as restrictions gradually ease.

Back in business for the first time in 16 months, Harrogate Convention Centre will host both shows, which run from 18-21 July, following a major conversion back to its regular use, after being a stand-by 500-bed NHS Nightingale Hospital.

The Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival will bring with it big name brands, exciting new show sectors, unmissable keynote speakers, new networking opportunities and the promise of an improved show layout at Harrogate Convention Centre’s exhibition halls.

The return of an event, which had been coming to Harrogate for 58 years until the pandemic, offers hope to the town’s conference facilities which have been dormant during Harrogate Convention Centre’s long stint as an NHS Nightingale.

Paula Lorimer, Director at Harrogate Convention Centre, said: “We’re very proud that Harrogate is leading the national conference and exhibitions sector as an ERP pilot for our industry. It’s a recognition of the key role of Harrogate Convention Centre, and our industry as a whole, in driving local economies, and arguably supporting the levelling up agenda in the North.

"We have over £15m of economic impact currently on our books between now and next March, and are raring to go, with safety being our highest priority.”

In a normal year, Harrogate Convention Centre hosts an estimated 150,000 conference and trade delegates with an economic impact of £35m on local hotels, B&Bs, bars, restaurants and shops.

Paula Lorimer added: “This is a welcomed and much-needed first step to help resume our conferencing and events industry and the whole live events sector, not just here, but across the UK, as part of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.”

The Gift Fair at Harrogate Convention Centre will be one of the government pilots in the exhibition and conference sector, joining high-profile sports events such as Wimbledon and Euro 2020 games.

Under the ERP pilot conditions, there will be no restrictions on visitor numbers or social distancing requirements on any day of the four-day event.

All attendees will be required to certify either they have had two vaccinations at least two weeks prior to attending or a negative NHS Lateral Flow Test at least 48hrs before attending.

The consent required from all participants to opt in to the Event Research programme and NHS Test and Trace will be sent to all registered buyers and exhibitors individually.

All attendees will be required to certify either they have had two vaccinations at least two weeks prior to attending or a negative NHS Lateral Flow Test at least 48hrs before attending.

The consent required from all participants to opt in to the Event Research programme and NHS Test and Trace will be sent to all registered buyers and exhibitors individually.

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