Porn stars join the conference circuit

April 23, 1999

Pornography is boosting income at Loughborough University.

Delegates staying at Burleigh Court, the university's purpose-built conference centre, are offered a choice of 12 films, costing Pounds 6.95 each, half of which are of an adult nature. A public relations consultant for Burleigh Court described them as "not pornographic - they are quite soft". Titles include Eternal Lust 2, Love in the Arms of a Stranger and Roller Babes.

"The vast majority of our clients come from the corporate sector," said Anthony Stevens, chief executive of Burleigh Court. "We can't be seen to be offering less than a hotel."

The conference centre is wholly owned by the university. It has 138 bedrooms and a turnover of Pounds 2.9 million a year. The films generate an income of about Pounds 1,000 a month.

However, other universities with conference centres were appalled at the concept of profiting from porn.

"The idea is just not on," said Peter Dunn, head of public relations at the University of Warwick, which generates several million pounds a year through its three conference centres.

The University of Keele has a year-round conference centre with 70 bedrooms, generating a profit of about Pounds 150,000 a year. Its staff were surprised by the availability of adult films at Loughborough. "I am amazed that they have it," said Jenny Deaville of the hospitality department. "We certainly wouldn't have it at Keele."

The reaction was similar at the University of Exeter, which also runs a conference centre. "We don't have pornography and we would not want to have it," said Paul Robinson, business development manager.

However, Mr Stevens remained undeterred by the response. "It is probably still rather novel, but in time, all university-based conference centres will probably offer it," he said. "You have got to keep up with market trends."

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