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RICC prepares for 'busiest' year yet

Torquay venue readies for 7th International Conference on Global Geoparks after upgrade works finish following fire

Pictured: The Riviera International Conference Centre (RICC)

Torquay's Riviera International Conference Centre (RICC) is expecting its highest visitor numbers in 2016, as the centre prepares for a series of high-profile conferences, including the 7th International Conference on Global Geoparks (GGN2016).

The centre was praised by its local council this week for the positive impact it is having on the local economy, following a series of repair works and improvements following a kitchen fire in June. The fire and subsequent flooding caused by the centre's sprinkler afterwards caused £650,000 worth of damage.

RICC MD Simon Jolly said improvement works had had a positive effect on attracting business: "This has been a busy year for us, our visitor numbers are going to be among the highest ever at the end of the year."

Along with GGN2016, other conferences due to take place at the venue include the National Association of Retired Police Officers Annual Conference 2017 and the Chartered Institute of Housing: South West Conference & Exhibition 2016.

Conference English Riviera manager Nicky Harding said: "The GGN2016 will attract a worldwide audience to Torbay and South Devon. It is an opportunity for the area to be showcased as not only a conference destination but also as a top tourist resort," she said.

"It is widely acknowledged that delegates return to conference destinations for holidays, bringing with them their families and telling others about their experience. The conference offers a massive opportunity to build on our business market and further develop tourism to the region as a whole."

RICC MD Simon Jolly told a council meeting this week that he expected 2016 to be its most successful yet: "This has been a busy year for us, our visitor numbers are going to be among the highest ever at the end of the year."

Jolly said having a hotel on site would be a "huge advantage" to attracting business.

"It's something we have explored in the past and would be a huge advantage," he said.

"How we achieve it and who pays for it we don't know, but it would make a difference. It is certainly an idea we would investigate again."

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