The NEC Group’s CEO Paul Thandi has said the proposed HS2 rail link would “greatly benefit the wider regional economy”.
The Government gave the green light for the new high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham earlier this year, but is not scheduled for completion until 2026.
Thandi said the link would attract even more visitors from a broader market.
“The NEC site alone, which is also home to the LG Arena as well as the NEC, attracts more than three million visitors each year – 70 per cent of which are from outside the West Midlands, and 10 per cent outside the UK,” he said.
“These two venues create 25,000 jobs and generate £1.8bn economic impact – so with time being one of the most precious commodities, if it’s easier and faster to get to us, then this is a great advantage.”
Marketing Birmingham chief executive Neil Rami said visitor numbers have increased by 13 per cent in Birmingham in the last five years, from 29.1m to 32.8m, which is worth an estimated £4.6bn to the local economy.
“The Birmingham area is already successful in attracting both business and leisure visitors, but we need greater accessibility both to and within the city to boost these numbers even further,” he said.
“The speed and convenience of high speed rail, plus other investments in the region such as the regeneration of New Street Station, Birmingham Airport’s redevelopment and the extension of Midland Metro, will make it much easier for local, national and international travellers to visit the region, which will help to attract more consumer spending and business investment here.”
HS2 will cut Birmingham-London journey times from around one hour 24 minutes to 45 minutes, with phase two cutting Birmingham-Manchester journey times from one hour 31 minutes to 41 minutes and Birmingham-Leeds journey times from two hours to 57 minutes.
“The arrival of HS2 will make a tremendously positive impact on this industry, boosting our reputation as somewhere that delegates can easily reach and will enjoy visiting; two key factors for organisers when they are considering where to locate events,” Rami added.
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