The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Inquiry Report into the international competitiveness of the UK events industry has said a cross-departmental approach should be established to represent the best interests of the UK events industry.
The report called strongly for a special ‘Events Visa’ that would provide a more positive welcome to influential event parties travelling internationally into the UK. According to the APPG, this has been authorised for the Commonwealth Games but should be extended to international trade shows,consumer and business-to-business events.
The report also points out that events businesses cannot afford to stand still after a successful 2012 Olympics and Diamond Jubilee. While the APPG Inquiry supports the claim that the UK is a world leader in the creation, staging and production of events, cost factors such as travel, venue and hotel accommodation and support services including restaurants and taxis prove to be an overwhelming challenge.
The Inquiry examined 21 written and verbal submissions from participators within the UK events sector and finds that events “could be a key driver of the Government’s ‘growth agenda’ by attracting high growth industries to the UK and stimulating the discussion as to why the UK is open and hungry for business.” MP Nick de Bois, chair of the APPG will present the key findings and recommendations from the first ever APPG Inquiry into the events industry later today (16 December).
“The majority of correspondence painted a picture of a robust and thriving sector, boosted by the recent arrival of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games that showcased its qualities,” the report notes.
The UK events industry was quoted at £36 billion, with aspirations to grow to £48.4bn, reported the Britain for Events Report and the Opportunities for Growth, submitted by the Business Visits & Events Partnership.
However, evidence also showed that the event industry is “fragmented”. It was established in the findings that events, due to the fact that the industry crosses so many different sectors, “suffers as it does not have a natural home in government structures”.
The report notes barriers to growth were exacerbated by the poor positioning of the business events industry within many sectors of Government. “Notwithstanding the committee receiving evidence of subvention by international competitor destinations, it was clear that the UK product is so strong and attractive to international event organisers that despite the lack of this subvention funding, and the obvious competitive disadvantage this creates, the UK continues to win major business,” stated the report.
The report also noted that a single professional organisation, funded by the industry, with representatives from leading bodies, could help ensure a unified, coherent and consistent relationship is built with government, local authorities and regulatory bodies. This could be a betterresourced BVEP to ensure the industry speaks with one voice.
Event industry professionals to appear on today’s panel discussion at De Vere Venues Altitude in London will include:
· Tracy Halliwell, director of Business Tourism & Major Events at London & Partners
· Neil Brownlee, head of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit
· Caroline Mackenzie, business development director at Contendam
· Julian Agostini, managing director of Confex
· Richard Foulkes, director at Imagination who will be the moderator
· Nick de Bois, MP
De Bois launched the all party parliamentary group inquiry at Confex this year.
According to the APPG, the function of the group is to represent the interests of the industry and to provide a dialogue between government and the organisations, associations and businesses that make up the wide scope of the UK events industry.
The inquiry has been supported by the APPG Secretariat Events Industry Forum, and additional support from International Confex and DaviesTanner / Britain for Events.
The full report is available from the APPG and the BVEP.
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