“Some savvy marketing exploited Manchester as a City that thinks a table is for dancing on”
Daily Telegraph 5th August 2002
Let’s get this into perspective.
In terms of world events, the hosting of the Commonwealth Games ranks as the third largest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup.
The Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, the largest ever, were the most significant multi-sport event to be held in this country since the 1948 Olympic games.
Manchester recognised that not only would the successful delivery of the Games re-position Manchester on the international stage as a business and tourism destination, but also offer mutual benefits to a range of tourism partners.
Manchester City Centre had, over a period of seven years, undergone a major renaissance. Previous bids for the Olympic games had attracted investment which ultimately led to the largest indoor arena in Europe -the M.E.N Arena- attracting 20,000 people to the city every week to see the world’s most famous music acts. World-class cyclists were offered the Velodrome, the National Cycling Centre as a superb sporting facility, setting in place the first visual commitment to SportCity in East Manchester.
The central core was set to change radically following the impact of the bomb in 1996 when Manchester Millennium chose a brave and ambitious master plan to redeem opportunity from adversity.
As the nineties progressed, the stunning Victorian architecture of its past now welcomed a new Millennium Quarter and a host of stunning cultural and commercial developments on Manchester’s skyline.
By summer 2002 the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester international Convention Centre and the Great Northern Square joined G-Mex to establish business tourism for the future in a defined cultural and convention quarter.
The re-opening after a period of four years of the Manchester Art Gallery after a £35m transformation was joined in the same period by the shimmering prow of Urbis redefining the look of Manchester’s cathedral quarter.
The wider reaches of the city region were keeping pace with a commitment to world-class architecture and partnership working. Calatrava’s Trinity Bridge leads visitors across the water from Manchester into the luxury of the five star Lowry Hotel in Salford.
The Salford Quays area was remarketed in 2002 under a joint initiative between Salford and Trafford working with the development agency Midas.
Improvements in the infrastructure added an Eccles spur onto the metrolink tramline to deliver tourists, workers and local people into ‘The Quays’.
The landmark arts project of the millennium year also bears the name of the famous artist, offering two theatres and contemporary galleries to an appreciative audience.
A designer shopping centre and ‘RED’ cinema sit across the footbridge from the most famous football club in the world – Manchester United.
The final part in the cultural redevelopment of this former docklands was completed with the opening of Daniel Liebeskind’s Imperial War Museum of the North. Free admission and a dynamic interpretation of the effects of war have led to record attendances within its first year of operation.
The Manchester Art Gallery re-opened its doors in the summer of 2002 to reveal a £35m makeover. It was worth the wait-the Art Gallery scooped a major award at the Building of The Year awards held in London one year later.
Urbis, the museum of the city, has shown the way in terms of brave and futuristic urban architecture. This project along with The Printworks, the Triangle, and New Cathedral Street’s wide shopping boulevard have redefined the Northern Gateway. A sense of peace has returned to the 15th Century quadrangle at Chetham’s School of Music with Cathedral Gardens laying out a green space for the city.
Ten miles to the north of the city, Gallery Oldham opened to offer a platform for local Artists to show and sell work whilst seeking to attract a wider audience to its state-of-the-art interior.
The cities of Liverpool and Manchester had formed a historic new partnership. Marketing campaigns showcasing both cities as vibrant weekend break destinations were launched with the North West Development Agency.
The Merseyside area was continuing to celebrate the opening of a range of exciting new cultural developments whilst seeking World Heritage status for it’s historic waterfront and the approval of the design for The Fourth Grace.
As the Games drew nearer partnerships strengthened recognizing the all round benefits of a regional approach to the marketing of ‘englandsnorthwest’.
In order to ensure that the wider region benefited from the hosting of the Games and to extend the marketing opportunities M2002 worked closely with a core group of regional stakeholders
North West Development Agency
British Tourist Authority
North West Tourist Board
Cumbria Tourist Board
England’s North Country
New East Manchester
A £250,000 short breaks and awareness campaign directed at London and the South East was launched under the theme ‘Fun and Games’
British Tourist Authority offices across the world received the 2002 England’s
North Country brochure with an eight-page insert on the Games and the Cultureshock programme of events.
The North West Tourist Board appointed 50 frontline Games Ambassadors from the Tourist Information Centres in the region. A series of visits to new attractions and Games venues took place in order to provide information on the events leading up to July 2002.
Under the NW2002 Legacy Programme, Games Xchange, launched a series of initiatives working with regional partners to provide a suite of information on The Games, Manchester and the region using the branding ‘englandsnorthwest’.
englandsnorthwest.com was launched to provide a portal for tourism and business information with direct links to the M2002 web site. Attracting over 2.5 million hits since its launch this continues to be administered from the NWDA head office. Additions to the site in 2003 include a gallery with a superb collection of downloadable images of print quality from across the Northwest.
A telephone call centre was established at the North West Tourist Board’s offices in Wigan to provide support for the expected demand on the telephone resources, to provide a wider range of information and to encourage the extended stay and a wider spread of tourists across the region. During the Games the team also offered up to date information on the availability of hotel rooms outside of the Manchester area. In April 2003 the North West Tourist Board made the decision to continue with a regional line as a legacy of the Games to continue to provide an over arching telephone support, and to support regional advertising campaigns.
The first regional tourist information centre under the newly branded englandsnorthwest was opened by Sir Bobby Charlton in Portland Street Manchester
A team made up of new members of staff worked alongside experienced information advisers from the Manchester Visitor Centre. A series of coach tours, attraction visits and promotional events were offered to engender a more spirited, creative approach to tourist information provision.
Attracting over 70,000 visitors in a seven-month period of operation the centre played host to BBC Radio5 Live during the Games. Over 30 hours of airtime, from a range of radio stations with celebrity guests, were broadcast from Portland Street.
Liverpool’s Capital of Culture bid was given strong support with an exhibition and messages of support for the bid gathered from all over the world.
Regional events were compiled by the staff and promoted using a monthly events board and listings distributed across the City.
An innovative approach to northwest promotion resulted in the centre transforming itself into a restaurant, a conference centre and a hotel room to maximise the increased numbers of visitors present for The Food and Drink Festival and the CBI Conference in the autumn of 2002.
The centre’s period of operation came to a close in December 2002.
Plans to capture the predicted increase in visitors and the region’s improved profile were unveiled in the North West Development Agency’s Strategy for Tourism in englandsnorthwest.
Marketing Manchester is now one of the five newly appointed Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) charged with developing a regional rather than municipal approach to the industry.
As the agency responsible for the delivery of Manchester’s visitor services they are currently exploring a possible new location for a new ‘Gateway’ visitor centre for Manchester to replace the existing provision at Manchester Town Hall.
A North West Hub Team managed the campaign to communicate the key brand values of the region and to manage the opportunities presented by visiting media.
During the Games period an englandsnorthwest press desk was established offering a series of coach tours, walks, and pass cards to attractions in each of the five counties in the region.
Britain Visitor Centre
The Britain Visitor Centre, Regent Street, London offered the tourism hub team regular weeklong exhibition spaces at key times of the year. Regional literature and print was co-ordinated and displayed to complement a variety of events including the Commonwealth Ambassadors reception and to celebrate Commonwealth Day.
Seminars and Training Programmes
A programme of events was organised for Spring 2001 with seminars including Recruitment & Retention, Deaf Awareness, Web Site Design, Through Other Eyes and Disability Discrimination Act consultation.
In summer 2001 a range of information seminars was organised including Hoteliers & The Law, Vision Awareness and Understanding Learning Difficulties.
Finally, in Spring 2002 the North West Tourist Board also introduced Accessible Marketing & Short Break packages.
Under the SRB NW2002 Commonwealth Economic Benefits programme a North West Business Club was established. A series of events before the Games took place in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Midas advising North West companies on how they could benefit. The Business Club at the Bridgewater Hall provided a Games times’ venue with a series of events for business meeting to take place in a relaxed and informal setting. In July of this year the future of the North West Business club was assured with renewed funding from the NWDA. This scheme is operated from Midas.
An independent consultancy providing an interim report in July 2003 reported examples of the tourism benefits of the Games as:
• Tourism spending by games participants and visitors to the region estimated at £29 million.
• Additional Tourist Information Centre facilities provided for the Games recorded nearly ¼ million walk-in visitors.
• Since March 2002, 2.5 million visits have been made to englandsnorthwest.com.
• The Games has contributed to Manchester Airport’s predicted passenger growth of 7.5% for 2003.
• A world class range of Sporting facilities for the region.
• 30 million people are now expected to consider Manchester as a business or tourism destination as a result of hosting the Games.
Games Xchange continues to provide information on the Games and promotion for the North West through a range of promotional initiatives, a touring regional exhibition and through its development and management of this gameslegacy.com web site launched in the autumn of 2003.