BVEP - Business Visits and Events Partnership

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Talent, Tariffs, Trade BVEP survey identifies key industry priorities over Brexit

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) today announced the results of its Events Industry Referendum Impact Survey which aimed to identify the industry’s key priorities for consideration during the forthcoming EU exit negotiations.

Drawing on responses from a broad range of event industry venues, suppliers and contractors, the survey reveals the top four priorities facing event professionals following the decision to leave the EU.

Nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents identified their number one priority as “safeguarding trade” by reducing uncertainty and engaging with new markets. The second highest consideration was reviewing existing legislation in order to ensure future business can be conducted efficiently (16%). The third most important issue was investing in UK infrastructure to improve Britain’s competitive position in the global market (12%). The final priority was investing in people in order to manage the impact of changes to foreign worker status in the UK (9%).

Britain’s reputation as an events destination was another major interest for survey respondents including: the potential perception of the UK as protectionist and unfriendly; damage to the UK’s reputation for being a modern international leader and trendsetter; and the danger of European conventions stopping the inclusion of the UK on their rotation patterns.

The survey also highlighted opportunities that have emerged since the EU referendum result. The fall in the value of sterling was cited as an opportunity for some businesses, although this was offset against projects being delivered in Europe where margins were being eroded due to the exchange rate. An increase in domestic business was cited by some respondents, particularly in relation to the need for additional conferences and meetings required by clients to help support SMEs face a more competitive trading future.
BVEP’s report points out that the questions raised by Brexit are compounded by the already wide range of issues and considerations that affect the events industry. As well as a lack of hard data on the events industry from a single recognised source, these include: workforce issues; aviation capacity; regulation; and specific initiatives such as the Tour Operator Margin Scheme (TOMS).

However, the report suggests that there is an opportunity for the industry to position itself as an integral part of the broader trading nation that needs to re-define itself with the EU and forge new trade agreements with other international markets. In other words, the future success of the UK events industry is also inexorably linked to the longer term impacts on the key industrial sectors it serves. Where the automotive sector succeeds, for example, so too will events such as product launches, dealer training session, trade shows and consumer experiences.

Calling on the events sector to help prioritise the key issues for government in the forthcoming EU negotiations, BVEP Vice-Chair and report author Simon Hughes said:

“Having identified the wide range of touch points that could affect our industry, the next stage is to identify a specific “Brexit Manifesto” to make sure events are taken into account in any positioning of UK plc. Over the next two years or so, we have a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the links between events and international trade. This is a chance for all event professionals to be seen and heard, while the government’s agenda is firmly focussed on protecting and enhancing our global reputation for business”.

Ends

For more information contact Ken Kelling 01892 619100 / 07941 218915 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Robert Wright 01892 619100 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to editors

• Full copies of the report are available to download at the end of this article.
• Survey results were based on responses from 72 businesses. Over 80% of respondents worked in conference and meetings, with some 60% working in exhibitions and trade fairs. Responses were also received from incentive travel businesses, outdoor event and festival organisers.
• The majority of those that took part (over 50%) identified themselves as businesses that work in both the domestic and international markets.
• In terms of immediate impact following the referendum 20% reported cancellations in business with the same amount reporting an increase.

About Business Visits & Events Partnership
The Business Visits & Events Partnership is an umbrella organisation representing leading trade and professional organisations, government agencies and other significant influencers in the business visits and events sector.

The BVEP exists to:
• garner the cohesive opinion of these stakeholders and to collectively influence and develop policies, practices and strategies that support and generate growth in the sector
• raise sector awareness through clear communications of the social and economic benefits of the business visits and events sector.

The Partnership seeks to provide a cohesive point of view for the entire business visits and events sector. The BVEP works with prominent sector leaders including its partners, government departments and agencies to influence and develop policies and practices favourable to the growth of business events, and trade and creative enterprise through business visits and events.

It has the support of the leading trade and professional organisations and government agencies with a shared interest in the economic benefit and growth of conferences, meetings, exhibitions, trade fairs, incentive travel, corporate hospitality, ceremonies, as well as other business, sporting, cultural and festival events.