It’s official: UKREiiF has injected more than £12m into the local Leeds economy in 2023 – up from £5.5m in our first year.

With nearly £20m pumped into Leeds businesses over two years, it’s an easy assumption that any event the size of UKREiiF will inevitably have a positive impact on its host city…but this result has come about due to hard work!

We’ve done alot to ensure the city region is alert and always reacting to any commercial opportunities that UKREiiF might bring, so I thought it would be useful to drill down into the numbers.

Hotels and Hospitality

Around 75% of people attending UKREiiF stayed overnight  – the majority for at least two nights ensuring they could attend UKREiiF for all three days. This led to nearly 12,000 hotel bed nights in the city region with hotel capacity hitting highs of 100% in the city centre. We worked with Leeds City Council to activate additional bed space, working with airb&b to promote hotel options on the outskirts of the city or just a short train ride away.


At least 300 delegates to UKREiiF stayed for four or more nights – with some paying visits to attractions such as Piece Hall in Halifax, Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield (to name but a few!). We worked with Leeds City Council to promote videos that showcased the region in an attempt to increase the tourism trade – even creating a ‘Team Leeds’ that united public and private sector businesses across the city. This will be a key focus in 2024.

Bars and Restaurants

Visitor spend was over £4,500,000 in the city, including outside-area hotels and hospitality. The biggest spend was in the food and drink sector that was aided by an inclusive fringe programme (which saw 2,000 additional delegates involved, in addition to the official 7,500 UKREiiF attendees).

We worked closely with local businesses to ensure opening times were extended outside of normal Monday-Friday times – these relaxed opening times combined with a doubling in attendance to forge substantial growth beyond the inaugural event’s figures.

Local Spend

As event organisers we were committed to driving local social impact – which is clear from our ISO 20121 Sustainable Events Management Accreditation and the £2.25m in social impact we delivered for the local community.

We made a point of supporting local freelancers such as photographers and videographers, plus large on-site local security and customer support teams. We also hired  local suppliers for printing and chose local food and beverage outlets. One of the local pop-up food outlets called Homeboys Pizza shared with us that “the money generated at UKREiiF has enabled us to buy the equipment to open a residence in two other locations”.

So, yes, the event automatically acted as a catalyst for local commercial growth – but there’s a few things we specifically focused on that added to the abundance.

Going forward, we’ll be making every effort to build on this result, powered by our ambition to bring 10,000+ official attendees in 2024.

On £12.1m figure – this has been measured by ARUP utilising a number of tools including:

  • EventIMPACTS Economic Impact Calculator – measuring the direct economic impact by reviewing organiser spend, visitor spend and fringe event spend
  • Visit Britain Business Research Cover – which uses 2,000 interviews across 84 different business events to understand visitor spend for international and domestic delegates
  • Deloitte and Oxford Economics in Tourism Growth Paper – produced for Visit Britain this sets a multiplier for Hotels, Catering and Pubs used in our report to capture wider economic impact of further spending in the region

If you’d like to find out more about this report by ARUP and the work we’ve done to enhance the local economic impact, drop me a line to: