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46 . . March 2012March CITY FOCUSFans of the TV sitcom Only Fools and Horses fl ocked to the stadium for the OFAH Appreciation Society annual convention. The 'Nelson Mandela House' fl ats featured in the TV show are not in Peckham, but overlook the Ashton Gate Stadium.BathCarolyn Pearson-Brown, Event Manager at the Pump Rooms and Assembly Rooms points out that Bath, just 15 minutes from Bristol by car, is a UNESCO world heritage site brimming with 5,000 listed buildings.Partner programmes and incentives are particularly important to the venue, originally built for social events in 1771. The Assembly Rooms have the largest banqueting space in Bath, a Georgian interior, and capacity for 500 delegates.The Roman Baths provide a dramatic setting for events while the Georgian Pump Room and Terrace are available for private dinner hire in the evening.Bath is very much a sporting centre with a rugby team, racecourse and sporting facilities at the University. All offer extensive meetings and events facilities.Center Parcs, hidden away in Longleat Forest, is a short drive away and offers purpose-built conference suites for 400 delegates with on-site accommodation. One of the newest venues to open in Bath is the Stables and Coach House at the American Museum in Britain. After a complete refurbishment, three new rooms have been created for conferences, meetings and events, with one that caters up to 120 delegates. Bath's destination marketing strategy for the next three years aims at adding £43m to the bottom line impact of tourism in the area - increasing tourism's value from £357m in 2010 to £400m by 2014. One target is to grow business tourism by nine per cent, from around 155,000 delegates attending business events per year to 169,000 delegates by 2014.In 2010, 3,700 business events at Bath venues were worth an estimated £21.2m. According to the BMEIS, the average event duration in 2010 was 1.6 days, average DDR £38 (UK average DDR £46) and average 24 hour rate was £144 (UK average £140). The corporate sector accounted for 48 per cent of events, with 75 per cent for 50 delegates or fewer.Bristol and Bath and its venues could be well worth investigating in any event. and events have grown almost fi ve-fold, according to Trought, "although clients aren't spending as much on each event as they were two or three years ago ,he says.This year the Bristol Evening Post is returning with its annual Business Award Dinner for 350-plus. Other venue clients include Airbus, AXA and HSBC. Bristol Rugby RFU's end of season celebrations brough 600 guests.National client events have included the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Chartered Insurance Institute and the IFS School of Finance. Bank of England Governor Mervyn King spoke at the CBI Annual Dinner, held for 600 guests.Top: Ferry cross the...Bristol harbour. Middle: Brunel's Old Station. Bottom: Shop till you drop in Cabot Circusholding fewer events and looking at every aspect of their event to ensure they only have what they need," says McDonald. "Venues are responding by being fl exible in packages and quality. Value for money is still extremely important, but choosing the right event venue is still the primary focus and organisers are prepared to pay for quality where appropriate."One satisfi ed association customer, this year, was the Royal Town Planning Institute which brought its Neighbourhood Planning conference to Bristol on 27 January. The Watershed Media Centre was the venue for 170 delegates. The Grade II listed building is right on Bristol's historic harbourside and seemed to fi t well with the community focus of the conference.Helen Clarke of the Royal Town Planning Institute said: "Watershed provided a convenient location, good acoustics, comfy seats and a superb lunch."Armada House was completed in 1903 as the headquarters for the Bristol Water Company. It was converted to a conference centre in 1998 and is a family business. Director Colin Porter says: "The venue works really well for conferences of 100 to 200 where larger than average breakout spaces are required"."We have a large number of regional HQ's in Bristol. Many organisation have consolidated their operations by relocating staff to Bristol, opting to close smaller sites down and this has helped the local economy stave off the worst effects," Porter adds, noting the 'capital of the west country' is often part of any country-wide events and roadshows.The home of Bristol City Football Club, Ashton Gate Stadium, offers event organisers a range of meeting rooms and the 1,700sqm Dolman Exhibition Hall.Lindley Venue Catering manages the facilities for events. Conference and Banqueting Manager Marc Trought joined the Stadium in 2006, shortly after the completion of a £2m investment in the facilities."The stadium is in a great location with plenty of complimentary parking for up to 500 vehicles," he says.The Dolman space converts into an examination room for three weeks a year for 600 Bristol University students. It has also been used for the city election count.Banquetting suites can accommodate up to 500 guests and, over the past fi ve years, revenue from conference and banquetting

Bath's Historic BuildingsFor more information and the latest special 01225 477786Stunning and unique venues in the heart of a World Heritage cityConferences . Dinners . ReceptionsRoman Baths & Pump Room Assembly Rooms Guildhall & Victoria Art GalleryConference OfficeThe Hawthorns, Woodland Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1UQTelephone 0117 954 5501 Fax 0117 331 0625Email ConferencesExhibitionsReceptions MeetingsWeddingsFunctionsSeminarsHoliday AccommodationFor more information on our extensive range of venues,including availability, please contact: