Leicester will host a pioneering conference next year to promote cities that support cycling, walking and active lifestyles.
The Active City conference will be held at Curve from 18-20 May 2016, and will attract local, national and international delegates and speakers.
The conference is coming to the city following a proposal submitted by Leicester City Council and Leicester Shire Promotions.
The news that Leicester will host the event was announced at this year’s Active City conference, which is currently taking place in Newcastle (25-26 June).
The conference gathers together expert speakers from across the globe to help delegates understand how lessons from other cities can be applied to the UK. For example, this year’s speakers include Erik Tetteroo (corr) from the Dutch Cycling Embassy, Lilli (corr) Matson from Transport for London and Joe Irvin (corr) from the walking charity Living Streets.
As well as attracting transport professionals, the conference draws in experts from the fields of regeneration, planning, business, health, tourism and information technology.
And there are plans to open out part of the Leicester conference to the public and schools next year, so that local people can get involved.
The conference will also offer delegates the chance to tour the city by bike, taking in some of the improved cycle ways and footpaths developed as part of the Connecting Leicester scheme.
The Leicester and Leicestershire Conference Bureau, managed by Leicester Shire Promotions, will work alongside the conference organiser, Landor to support the conference. This will include the co-ordination of online accommodation booking for delegates through a secure microsite, promotion of guide-led cycle rides, discounts for delegate train travel via a partnership with East Midlands Trains, and sourcing local food and drink offers for delegates during their stay.
City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “It’s great news that we will be joining cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle in hosting an Active City conference. It demonstrates that Leicester is a forward-thinking city and it is an endorsement of Connecting Leicester, which links key areas of the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists to get around more easily.
“We know that encouraging sustainable travel has many benefits – it supports healthier lifestyles, it is environmentally friendly and it makes cities work for the people who live in them.
“This conference will help us to look at how lessons from around the world can be applied here, taking inspiration from the experts and learning more about how we can support sustainable travel.”
Martin Peters, chief executive of Leicester Shire Promotions added: “Active City is the latest in a series of high-profile national business events that have been, and will be, hosted in Leicester and Leicestershire.
“This is thanks to our strategy of targeting events that reflect the strengths and values of the city and county.
“We’re delighted to have played a key role in bringing the conference to the city and look forward to working with the organisers and local partners such as Curve to deliver a successful event in 2016.”