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EIB - Industry leaders express urgency about naming a reopening date to Minister

At the most recent Senior Events Industry Leaders Panel held with the Minister of Tourism, Nigel Huddleston MP, industry leaders voiced their concerns, about the critical importance of a date for reopening to be given, if further damage to an already fragile Industry was to be avoided. Industry leaders said a go date was essential as for many events, at least eight to twelve weeks, was necessary for planning purposes.

The Minister recognised the industry’s dilemma in wanting to get planning advanced and indicated everything was being done to ensure that the industry’s plight was fully recognised within the recovery process being progressed by government.

Conference and exhibition centres remain closed and all business events are prohibited, whilst other parts of the visitor economy are to reopen on the 4th July. It was made clear that the viability of the visitor economy was severely threatened whilst 50% of its spend was in lockdown and dependant on the operation of business and cultural events which attracted millions of visitors across the country.

The damage to the industry in terms of business failure and lost jobs by not identifying an advance date for reopening was set out at the meeting. Industry leaders made it very clear that the continued failure to reactivate events risks major corporate and trade events being lost to international competitors who are already opening up. It is set to severely limit UK businesses from showcasing their products and services and communicating the strong message that global Britain is open for business.

Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman of the Events Industry Board, within which the Senior Industry Leaders Panel sits, said: “The industry has worked tirelessly with DCMS Officials to develop COVID-19 Secure Guidelines. These were developed taking into account the need to have internationally recognised standards and represent the extensive nature of protocols being adopted in competitor nations. Despite this they are yet to be published”

Member participants in attendance:
Michael Hirst OBE, Chair, Events Industry Board
Ian Edwards, CEO, ICC Wales & Celtic Manor Resort, and the Welsh Government’s nominated BTA Board member
Darren Johnson, CEO, Reed Exhibitions
Simon Kimble, Chair, Clarion Events
Helen McCabe, Managing Director, BCD UK
Nigel Nathan, Managing Director, Olympia
Oonagh O’Reilly, ICC Belfast
Simon Parker, Executive VP, Informa
Dale Parmenter, Managing Director, DRP Group
Julian Pullan, Vice Chair, Jack Morton
Jeremy Rees, CEO, ExCel Centre
Gareth Rogers, CEO, Farnborough International
James Selka, CEO, Manufacturing Technologies Association
Mark Shashoua, CEO, Hyve Group
Rick Stainton, Group Executive Director, Smyle
Paul Stoddard, Managing Director, Carlson Wagon-Lits
Mark Taylor, CEO, Queen Elizabeth Centre II
Dan Thurlow, Director of Exhibitions, Scottish Events Campus
Paul Thandi, CEO, National Exhibition Centre (NEC)
Michael Wryley- Birch, CEO, TRO Group

Hannah Duffy, Economic Response Directorate, DCMS


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 -