End of Year Review from Chris Skeith, Chair of UKEVENTS

In the past 12 months, we've witnessed significant strides in defining our sector’s narrative. The events industry has experienced growth, yet challenges persist for the sector. Work on the eagerly awaited UK Events Report 2024 is underway, and the initial consensus is encouraging. However, it's crucial not to become complacent.

As was described at this year’s PCMA conference, the world is in a state of 'perma-crisis,' highlighting the resilience of our industry. The demand for in-person events remains robust, yet global supply chain issues continue to pose challenges. These challenges place immense pressure on our businesses, teams, events, and bottom lines. It's more imperative than ever to continue to engage in persuasive conversations with government colleagues to future-proof our sector.

Looking ahead to 2024, a critical year with elections in both the UK and the US, we must maintain our one-industry approach. Strengthening relations with the civil service is equally crucial. We are pleased to have welcomed new members, BADA and NCASS, fostering a collaborative spirit within our partnership organization.

The insights from a survey of Partners' views in 2022 paved the way for a new strategy and business plan. Six working groups have now been activated and their work is now underway. They are:

  • Advocacy & Government Relations
  • Business Events
  • Outdoor Events
  • Skills, Talent & Diversity
  • Research & Business Intelligence

I express gratitude to the dedicated volunteers leading these groups and setting clear objectives for our collective advancement.

A unified voice for industry impact

Our commitment to a united industry, professional growth, and inclusivity remains unwavering. Together, we navigate challenges, celebrate successes, and propel the UK's events industry towards a sustainable future.

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, UKEVENTS is steadfast in its mission to champion the growth and sustainability of the UK's events industry. Our commitment extends across all core sectors, from meetings, conferences, and exhibitions to trade shows, incentive travel, event hospitality, sporting events, cultural experiences, outdoor events, and festivals. In addition, we acknowledge the invaluable services provided by the broader supply chain.

Our role as a cohesive voice to government departments remains pivotal. We advocate for the events industry as a driving force behind international trade, exports, and inward investment. Beyond economic contributions, we emphasise our role in fostering community cohesion, social well-being, and prosperity for destinations throughout the UK.

Advancing professionalism and inclusivity

With an eye on the future, our focus on advancing professionalism, skills, talent, diversity, and inclusivity has intensified. We proudly oversee the Events Apprenticeship Programme, contributing to the development of a skilled and diverse workforce that reflects the richness of our industry.

Strategic initiatives and collaborative efforts

Through collaboration with our partners, we have championed the use of common SIC codes to enhance statistical recognition of industry activities. The initiation of a quarterly Confidence Barometer stands as a testament to our commitment to gauging business and confidence trends across key sectors. The sharing of information among partners has proven invaluable, promoting a deeper understanding of common challenges and we must hold this course.

Looking ahead to 2024

As we look ahead to 2024, our commitment to the initiatives outlined in our Strategic Plan of Work remains unwavering. Our focus will include collaborating to develop policy objectives aligned with the government's growth agenda. Emphasis will be placed on showcasing the industry's contribution to green growth, innovation, and creativity, ultimately bringing prosperity to communities across the UK.

The significance of evidence and data about our industry cannot be overstated, forming the bedrock of our pleas for recognition and support. In the coming year, we will embark on the preparation of a new UK Events Report, meticulously outlining the industry's value, volume, and shedding light on emerging trends, opportunities, and ongoing challenges.

In closing, I extend my deepest gratitude for your continued support. I look forward to another year of collaboration as we navigate the evolving landscape of our industry. 

Wishing everyone a festive holiday season filled with joy and a New Year marked by success and prosperity.

Warm regards,

Chris Skeith OBE

Photo by Fas Khan on Unsplash