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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 102

Date:- 07 June 2003

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First Northwest Economic Forecast published

THE first independent business forecast for the Northwest was published today, June 5th. The report provides a concise and realistic assessment of developments in the region’s economy, and is intended to inform future decisions in the public as well as the private sector.

The report has been published by the Northwest Regional Economic Forecasting Panel. This has thirteen distinguished members all well placed to bring a valuable perspective to the Panel’s work. The Chairman is David Coates, the DTI’s Chief Economic Adviser prior to his recent retirement.

The Panel has been established by the Regional Intelligence Unit that is based within the Northwest Development Agency. Strictly independent, the Panel will meet every quarter to discuss the current state of the Northwest economy. They will produce short term forecasts twice a year, a ‘state of the region’ report that will be kept up to date, and an annual assessment of long term prospects for the Northwest.

David Coates, Chairman of the Northwest Regional Economic Forecasting Panel commented:- “The Northwest economy has many strengths, and has recently been growing faster than the UK as a whole. This is set to change, as the UK and the Northwest slow together, then recover quite gradually at first, with the UK pulling ahead again. I look forward to working with the Panel to improve our understanding of the region, and what might help it to do even better.”

Bryan Gray, Chairman of the Northwest Development Agency welcomed the first report:- “It is crucial that public sector investment decisions are based upon a sound understanding of the region’s economy. The work of the Panel and the regular forecasting reports they will produce are set to become an essential asset for public agencies and businesses across the Northwest.”

Report overview

The Northwest has benefited from strong growth in tourism, leisure and consumer services, supported by consumer confidence and renaissance of urban centres.

The economy of the Northwest is slowing down reflecting developments in the global & UK economies, before beginning to recover next year. Consumer spending is forecast to slacken in 2003, while a difficult trading environment hampers growth in exports and business investment. 

Manufacturing is facing further retrenchment in 2003, though the strong Euro should help to ease competitive pressures in some home and export markets.

Public sector spending is expected to be a key driver of growth in the Northwest.

GVA per head in the Northwest is forecast to grow relative to the UK average in 2003 and 2004, though predicted growth rates do not exceed 2% pa in 2003-5.

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Liverpool hosts major Conference Industry Convention
THE British Association of Conference Destinations (BACD) AGM & Spring Convention was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, under the theme ‘Destination Marketing in a Changing World.’

The convention was secured by The Mersey Partnership’s Conference Team in early 2002 and provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase Liverpool and Merseyside as a conference destination.

Approximately 100 delegates, comprising key individuals and organisations from the conference industry, attend the three-day convention. They took part in a fully interactive programme that include networking events, workshops, social events, case studies, discussions and a study tour. 

The keynote speaker was Rick Antonson, Chief Executive of Tourism Vancouver and President of the International Association of Visitor and Convention Bureaux (IAVCB).

Other Speakers include:- Chris Brown, Director of Operations at The Mersey Partnership; Barrie Kelly, Head of Marketing, The Mersey Partnership; Catherine Evans, Convention Bureau Manager, Chester & Cheshire Conference Desk; and Maxine McCarthy, Conference & Sales Manager, Southport Conferences.

Local venues also played a part, helping showcase the excellent range of conference facilities available in Liverpool. Delegates attending had a meal at Merseyside Maritime Museum, and an exclusive visit to The Beatles Story and a Gala dinner at Liverpool Town Hall.

The BACD Convention is one of over 40 conferences and events that have been secured by The Mersey Partnership Conference Team for 2003.

Chris Brown, Director of Operations at The Mersey Partnership said:- “I am delighted that Liverpool is hosting this major conference industry convention, which is further evidence of the recognition being given to the Liverpool City Region as a significant conference destination. Our business tourism industry is performing well, with hotel occupancy rates outperforming both the North West and UK national average in 2002.”

Simon Forrester, Operations Manager at the British Association of Conference Destinations (BACD), said:- "BACD is pleased to be holding its largest Spring Convention ever in Liverpool which will be an excellent opportunity to pick up some of the latest ideas and current best practice from industry experts across both the national and international scale. This year's location in Liverpool offers delegates the chance to visit one of the shortlisted contenders for European Capital of Culture 2008, and find out more about this vibrant City."

Michael Hirst, Chairman of the British Tourism Partnership, said:- “Business tourism is big business for Britain and growing at a faster rate than other tourism sectors. By attending the Spring Convention, BACD members who are at the forefront of this growth will have a unique opportunity of seeing first hand the exciting and extensive measures being taken by Liverpool to invest in its business tourism infrastructure and promote it to a wider market.”

Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.