NEC un­veils £ 4.5m trans­for­ma­tion plan

FA­MOUS FACES JOIN AD­VEN­TURER TO OF­FI­CIALLY OPEN NEC THEME PARK

Solihull News - - FRONT PAGE - BEN HURST ben. hurst@ reach­plc. com

THE NEC has un­veiled de­tails of its ex­ten­sive £ 4.5 mil­lion trans­for­ma­tion which will com­pletely change the look and feel of the iconic venue.

The site is vis­ited by more than two mil­lion peo­ple each year, with 500 separate events tak­ing place.

It is a three- year pro­ject and the first phase – the ex­te­rior of Halls 1 and 5 – be­gan in June.

Kathryn James, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor for NEC Group Con­ven­tions and Ex­hi­bi­tions, said: “We have seen our NEC cam­pus change rad­i­cally over the past three years.

“We be­gan our jour­ney as an ex­hi­bi­tion venue, and are now a thriv­ing 24/ 7 busi­ness and leisure des­ti­na­tion. We are at­tract­ing more and more vis­i­tors each year as the amaz­ing con­tent hosted by our ex­hi­bi­tions, con­fer­ences, live events and at­trac­tions, both on cam­pus and within the NEC, de­vel­ops.”

The NEC site now at­tracts over seven mil­lion vis­i­tors each year to the NEC, Gent­ing Arena, Vox con­fer­ence cen­tre and Re­sorts World Birmingham. That num­ber is set to grow. Kathryn added: “We have a rich her­itage of over 40 years but, whilst the ser­vices we de­liver have evolved, the ex­te­rior of the venue has stayed the same.

“What we fondly call Pro­ject Facelift, will give the venue a mod­ern and im­pact­ful look.”

The new de­sign will in­clude 37 pyra­mid translu­cent struc­tures that can be back­lit to cre­ate a stun­ning vis­ual ef­fect. More than £ 4 mil­lion has been spent on 185 dig­i­tal dis­plays.

AC­TION man Bear Grylls made the en­trance you would ex­pect at the launch of his Soli­hull theme park.

He ab­seiled from the back of a mock he­li­copter.

Then, ac­com­pa­nied by two Royal Marines, he de­clared The Bear Grylls Ad­ven­ture at the NEC of­fi­cially open.

En­joy­ing the launch were a host of re­al­ity TV stars in­clud­ing Love Is­land’s Char­lie Brake and Tina Stinnes from Made in Chelsea.

Also there were singer Jake Quick­enden and selfie queen Karen Danczuck.

The new Mer­lin at­trac­tion cost £ 20 mil­lion to cre­ate and or­gan­is­ers are calling it a ‘ global first ad­ven­ture at­trac­tion’ be­cause it’s so packed with chal­lenges for thrillseek­ers.

You can go div­ing, climb Europe’s tallest high ropes course, zip wire from a Chi­nook, tackle an as­sault course, break out of an es­cape room and out­wit a sur­vival maze – all in one day.

Bear said: “You don’t have to go to the fur­thest moun­tain range or the deep­est sea any more, we’ve brought it all un­der one roof in Birmingham.

“It’s all about t bring­ing b i i th that t spirit of en­deav­our into one place.

“This is the UK’s ul­ti­mate ad­ven­ture des­ti­na­tion where peo­ple can ex­pe­ri­ence so many of the world’s most ex­cit­ing chal­lenges.”

Base­camp is at the heart of the at­trac­tion. It con­sists of four team and in­di­vid­ual chal­lenges which will equip thrillseek­ers with all the skills they need for any ad­ven­ture. Cre­ated and in­spired by Bear’s own mil­i­tary ex­pe­ri­ences and p past ad­ven­tures from across the globe, this th is where you’ll start your day. Th Those brave enough wi will race against time to c crack codes, solve puzz zles and find their way out of the themed es­cape room. Use logic and re re­source­ful­ness to get ou out in record time by findi find­ing clues and com­plet­ing me men­tal chal­lenges with your team. This isn’t any reg­u­lar es­cape room – be pre­pared for some BGstyle sur­prises if you want to es­cape! Bear said: “Sur­vival is about mak­ing calm, smart de­ci­sions un­der pres­sure. Get that bit right and the rest will fall into place!”

The new look NEC

Bear Grylls with celebrity guests and mem­bers of the Royal Marines dur­ing the launch of the Global First Ad­ven­ture At­trac­tion at the NEC

Ac­tor War­wick Davis ex­pe­ri­ences the i- Fly at­trac­tion at The Bear Grylls Ad­ven­ture

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