BVEP - Business Visits and Events Partnership

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EIB continues to press for sustained support

At the last meeting of the Events Industry Board (EIB), members continued to press for more support as they reviewed measures for the longer term recovery of the Industry.

Whilst welcoming the extension to the furlough scheme, members urged the government to extend the scheme further and offer help to many of the Industry’s smaller businesses that were often struggling to access government programmes.

More recognition was sought for the Industry in the recovery planning process and participating in the development of specific guidance for the Events Industry. Concerns were also expressed about the financial viability of reopening with social distancing measures in place.

Members raised the issue that consumer confidence is low - in terms of organising future events and sentiments about attending events. Members said clear government messaging was needed to state when organised events could resume and to reassure the public and consumers that organised gatherings were safe to attend. Members said that without a start date and government reassurance, the UK risked losing its market share to international destinations.

Recommendations were made for DCMS to pursue an ambitious Spending Review proposal which could better support the UK events industry to compete internationally. This should include key officials and Ministers raising the profile of the industry across government, including with relevant Other Government Departments, which would enable improved coordination (e.g. Department for International Trade, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy).

The Board also suggested that the government consider which government-led events it can organise as a way to encourage event activity to begin and lead the way for other industry-led events to begin to be organised. It also asked for domestic, as well as international markets, to be considered when developing any potential support packages, including the potential for a fund to help Destination Management Organisations and Convention Bureaus sell in-market.

Michael Hirst, Chair of the Events Industry Board, said, “This was another productive meeting of the Board with Department Officials. Members were able to put forward constructive perspectives on what additional immediate support was needed and what measures need to be put in place for the longer term recovery of the Industry”.

Attendees at meeting:
Michael Hirst (Chair)
Paul Bush (Visit Scotland)
Claire Fennelow (EVCOM)
Tracy Halliwell (London & Partners)
Rob Holt (Visit Wales)
Simon Hughes (Independent)
Susan Jacques (DIT, observer)
Jennifer Jenkins (Independent)
Kerrin MacPhie (VisitBritain)
David Martin (DCMS)
Kate Nicholls (UK Hospitality)
Sheila Pardoe (DCMS)
Mike Rusbridge (Independent)
Chris Skeith (AEO)
Giles Smith (DCMS)
Naomi Waite (Northern Ireland Tourist Board)
Nick Brooks-Sykes (Marketing Manchester)
Paul Szomoru (Newcastle Gateshead Initiative) 

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Notes to editors
For further information please contact Hollie Luxford at davies tanner – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07506 016507

About The Events Industry Board
The Events Industry Board (the Board) has been set up to help grow the business events industry across the UK, and to act as a sounding board for Government on the best way to achieve this. The Government wants to attract more business events to the UK, support our existing events to grow and discourage existing events from leaving.

The Board is an advisory body which will provide Ministers and Officials guidance and feedback on how Britain may become a more competitive environment in order to attract, grow and create international events.

In so doing, it will reinforce and assist the Government’s objective of improving on the UK’s position of number three in the world ranking for international association meetings to become the leading European country for business events, conferences and congresses by 2025.

This will have the effect of staging in Britain a greater number of high quality international events which will deliver UK growth and prosperity through:
a) Direct economic impact generated by event and visitor spend;
b) Attracting overseas key industry decision makers to the UK, increasing opportunities for exports and investment for UK businesses;
c) Attracting leading academics and innovators;
d) Increasing year round productivity within the UK tourism sector;
e) Enhancing regional prosperity and sense of place.

This objective is in line with the Business Visits and Events Strategy, published in 2015. This commits the UK Government, led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for International Trade, supported by VisitBritain and working with the devolved administrations and industry where appropriate, to deliver this vision through;
a) Developing and implementing a systematic strategy to identify international business events which we want to attract, grow and create.
b) Driving forward a delivery plan to coordinate government support for events identified by the strategy.
c) Working with the industry to develop and resource the evidence base to inform any future government support for business events.

Further information on the Events Industry Board can be found online here - https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/events-industry-board