Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival concluded last week, marking one year of business recovery at Harrogate Convention Centre (HCC) since it reopened last July as part of the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).
Following last year’s Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival ERP pilot, this year’s event saw footfall rise by 8% from last year with 31 countries represented, according to show manager David Westbrooke.
He said, “This is thanks in no small part to the amazing hospitality we find here, which helps to make our event truly unique. We’re equally pleased to have committed our long-term future to the town as well, and look forward to seeing all of our customers being able to enjoy everything Harrogate has to offer for years to come.”
HCC was redeployed as a 500-bed Nightingale Hospital from March 2020 to June 2021 and had to close off entirely as an event venue for 15 months. In the 12 months since July 2021, events at HCC had attracted 267,000 visits, bringing a combined economic impact of £27.6m to the Harrogate town and district.
Trade exhibitions have seen a particularly strong recovery, increasing from nine shows in 2019-2020 to 10 in the past 12 months, including the Home & Gift Buyers Festival that will be returning to Harrogate until 2024.
The event is among several other exhibitions that have signed long-term contracts with HCC over the past year, including the British Craft Trade Fair, British Craft and Design Fair, Country Living Fair, the Flooring Show, Knitting and Stitching Show, International Nursery Fair, Harrogate Fashion Week and Bridal Week Harrogate.