The events industry was urged to improve its sharing of best practice and partnerships with local authorities by MP Nick de Bois on 16 December as he presented the first All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Inquiry Report.
The inquiry’s results into the international competitiveness of the UK events industry were launched at Altitude 360 in Westminster to an audience of 60 industry professionals.
“We have the right capability to empower local authorities, we need to go out and tell them about our industry,” he said. “They don’t often see the economic value to the events industry but it can be done at a regional level and importantly at a local level.
“The inquiry found that the UK events industry is one of the most dynamic, creative and effective in the world. It supports infrastructure investment and employs over 530,000 people. With the right support we can continue to be the envy of the world and bring more business, investment and visitors to the UK.”
Paying tribute to the UK events industry, the chair of the APPG for Events acknowledged a ‘golden period’ of major events in the UK following the Olympic and Paralympic Games last year and the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup taking place next year.
“The UK has an amazing product and we are relatively in a good position but now is the time to develop and improve. Despite our numerous successes the UK faces a huge challenge from increasingly tough international competition and we need to be up for the fight,” he added.
De Bois listed key recommendations from the Inquiry, including a call for an Events Visa and support for an Event Industry Safety Guide, as well as a call to review the tax raising powers of local government. He also said he’d like to see competition between London boroughs to host a major new exhibition and conference venue in west London.
Following de Bois’s presentation, Michael Hirst, chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) welcomed the report, adding that “in 13 years of chairing the industry’s umbrella body, it is the first time I have thanked politicians for a contribution. It is great to know we now have a group of parliamentarians, from a broad swathe of political views, working together for events. Nick and his group have taken our views to the doors of ministers. I think the report will help secure improved policies towards the sector.”
Hirst added that a new events manifesto would be published by the BVEP before the 2015 general election. He listed the Let Britain Fly campaign as another example of an issue the BVEP and Britain for Events were trying to lead on, as well as lobbying for the revision of the Tour Operator’s Margin Scheme.
The inquiry’s report was then discussed by a five-man panel, moderated by Richard Foulkes, vice chair of the BVEP, and featuring Julian Agostini (International Confex), Tracy Halliwell (London & Partners), Neil Brownlee (VisitScotland) and Caroline Mackenzie (Contendam).
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