During a recent roundtable hosted by Searcys, industry leaders covered topics including Brexit, immigration, terror, infrastructure and economics.
Whilse those in attendance all raised concerns about the long-term impact of Brexit, security issues were considered to be a bigger threat to the market.
Searcys welcomed representatives from agencies, DMCs, venues and DMOs to Searcys at the Gherkin for the discussion moderated by Paul Kennedy MBE.
“Following a marked growth in business from across Europe since the Brexit vote we wanted to gather a range of leaders and experts to compare notes,” commented Johanna Byrane, head of sales at Searcys. “Initially the discussion supported the success we have seen but moved onto other issues posing a greater threat to business.”
The discussion took place prior to the recent terrorist incidents in London. However, security was already considered the number one concern for event organisers by those around the table.
“Much of our discussion reflected the need to support organisers as they focus on safety at their events, the safety of our own venues and cities and the need to continue meeting in the face of adversity,” continued Byrane.
Takeaways from the roundtable included:
- Security is the number one concern for most event organisers, far outweighing the potential ramifications on an unknown Brexit negotiation.
- Personal safety is frequently the most important decision when deciding on a destination, making the threat of terror attacks a greater issue than Brexit.
- Venues able to demonstrate high security are considered more desirable by bookers.
- Whist there was a period of concern in the run up to the 2016 referendum, fears settled down soon after the vote and business returned to normal.
- Brexit offers opportunities through improved exchange rates and the fact businesses are opening satellite offices in Europe.
- The most immediate concern is the impact on the UK’s European workforce, making a workable visa system a priority.
- There is a perception that UK travel is difficult, compounded by the fact that major capital projects (HS2, Crossrail etc) take too long to complete.
The session will form the basis of a white paper to be released by Searcys in early July.