UBM’s International Confex event will move from Earls Court to Excel London from 2012.
UBM portfolio director Jonny Sullens told EN Excel’s strong facilities including the recently launched International Conference Centre will help Confex expand its global visitor base and hosted buyers programme.
“We’ve done this to grow the show. There are areas in the current show, such as the international area, which I’m keen to expand, and complementary markets that would sit well alongside Confex,” Sullens said. “Excel gives us the flexibility to bolt on other significantly-sized products, which wasn’t there with Earls Court.”
Excel’s close proximity to London City Airport, coupled with forthcoming transport developments such as Crossrail and the proposed cable car system, made it a strong location for Confex, Sullens continued. Having several hotels on-site will also open up a range of networking opportunities alongside the main programme.
“The events industry in a lot of ways is moving east, and Excel and the International Conference Centre has put London on the map for hosting big association events we might not have been able to facilitate before,” Sullens said. “With the Olympics, 2012 was the year to do it. The improving infrastructure makes Excel a desirable location that’s easier to access than before.”
News of the show’s relocation comes 12 months after Earls Court owner Capco announced plans to redevelop the site into a residential and business complex after the Olympics. An official planning application is expected to be filed in May.
Sullens pointed out it could be several years before planning permission on Earls Court was approved and Capco began redevelopment of the site.
“We knew we could have stayed for a few years more,” he added.
Excel London MD David Pegler claimed many of its clients in the corporation and association markets made up a high percentage of Confex’s targeted audience.
“This will ensure we can use our own marketing to raise awareness of the show to these audiences,” he said.
Earls Court and Olympia group MD Nigel Nathan wished Confex all the best with the move.
“As one of London’s leading venues we are very proud of the instrumental part we’ve played in the growth and success of International Confex and look forward to seeing how the show develops in its new location,” he stated.
UBM group director Simon Parker stressed the organiser will continue to work with EC&O on several events include Total Workplace Management, Energy Solutions and The Building Services Event, Technology for Marketing, Internet World and Call Centre. UBM also runs Building Schools Education Conference (BSEC) and Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) conference at Excel.
Confex was first held in 1984 in Olympia before moving to Earls Court 1 in 1996. This year’s show takes place from 1 to 3 March.
Last month, UBM cancelled its midland-based event industry show, Event UK, in favour of focusing its attention exclusively on Confex. Event UK was acquired by UBM in 2006 and rebranded from the National Venue Show in 2008.
Check out EN’s interview with Confex director Jonny Sullens in the March edition of Exhibition News.
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