SHEFFIELD is to stage the national conference of the National Union of Students over the next two years in a deal that is estimated to generate more than £2m for the local economy.
Around 1,500 delegates will visit the city for the three-day conferences at the City Hall in April 2012 and 2013, setting NUS policy for the years ahead and electing national student representatives.
NUS president Liam Burns said it was “a fantastic opportunity to visit a great city”, adding: “Sheffield has one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the country with 60,000 students at two great universities – the largest further education provider in Europe with students’ unions that have a real impact in their local area.”
Gemma Bradshaw, business tourism manager at Sheffield Convention Bureau, part of Marketing Sheffield, which helped to secure the deal, said: “It clearly demonstrates that conference organisers see Sheffield as a competitive location to deliver high-quality and high-profile events.”
She said the conferences will provide a welcome boost to hotels and othersbusinesses and had resulted from discussions at last year’s International CONFEX at Earls Court in London which had been attended by the Sheffield Convention Bureau and Sheffield International Venues.
Dominic Stokes, general manager, SIV Events, said the NUS conference, following the Liberal Democrat spring conference last March, was “further proof that we are a significant player in hosting such major national and international business events.
“The delegates for this event will be the decision makers and leaders of civic society in the future and shaping their view of our city and its facilities at such an early stage will be crucial to our success as a destination in the long term.”
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, who used to work at the students’ union at the University of Sheffield, said: “The NUS decision highlights the fact that, with two great universities, we are now one of the most popular student cities in the country.”