Exhibition News October 2018 - Page 26

COVER FEATURE through a destination management organisation.” 1997 Labour Party wins general election 1999 BVEP formed, with Michael Hirst as chair 2003 VisitBritain created 2010 Conservative Party wins general election 2014 BVEP unveils Events are GREAT Britain at International Confex 26 2015 Events Industry Board established 2016 VisitBritain turns focus to business events sector, launches Business Events Support Programme 2016 On 23 June Britain votes to leave the EU 2018 Michael Ellis MP appointed Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport October 2018 | exhibitionnews.co.uk Closer to home Although the industry is arguably lacking in comprehensive research proving its value to the UK, it’s generally accepted that business events have an incredible impact on a city or destination. In her evidence at the parliamentary session, Tracy Halliwell of London & Partners set the value of UK business events at £41bn and it seems that the message is being heard loud and clear. When we’re talking about productive relationships between the industry and government, as alluded to by Jeremy Rees during the session, often it’s outwith the capital where the UK really shines. Scotland in particular is held up as a region that’s managed to build a particularly constructive working relationship. “The convention bureau is the free service offered to event organisers, and that looks at a range of tools that are offered for free,” says Aileen Crawford, head of conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau. “That also links into things like support from the Lord Provost (City Mayor) and being able to offer that welcome to national and international delegates and a range of support and understanding that business events are important to the destination." Dan Thurlow, head of exhibition sales at the SEC, adds: “The relationships have developed very positively over the years as the value of events to the city and national economies has become more widely recognised. They can make introductions to key people/organisations to help with content, provide assistance with accommodation, civil receptions and marketing. It’s what organisers are looking for, and they’ve told us that." This kind of approach is also a priority in Wales, where the all-new ICC Wales set to open in Summer 2019. While Wales currently only achieves less than two per cent of the UK’s business events value, industry stakeholders are working hard to establish the country as a premium events destination. “There is no question that Wales has significant potential to draw further business events to our award-winning venues and destinations, both from within the UK and internationally,” says Heledd Williams, head of business events at VisitWales. “There are open, clear lines of communication with our industry partners, where we meet on a regular basis, support each other and work together on a combined agenda to present the country as a viable destination for business events." Looking to the future From EN’s point of view, one of the most pressing issues facing the exhibition industry is working out our place in all of this. Much of the talk about the relationship between government and the business events industry is based around attracting larger peripatetic events – generally conferences – to the UK, and while the promise of soft po \YXBHZ[\\[[[X[\ܝ\[\Y[X[H^X][ۂܙ[\\[\H\[&]]\Hً܈][[\\Y[\ZY 'x&[H\H\x&\[[ۙH\H[[ZYHHݚXHYBX^Hوݙ\Y[ ^\[XKY[H۸&]ۛ]ݙ\Y[[]H[H[x&[H\H\x&\[][^H[]H[K'B[]Y\H^X][ۈ[\K\\H\\\š\][ܛYY[][Y ]\[x&\H[ܙ[\\قHY\X][[ܛ[\[\][ۘ[\]ܜH[YB[]HY\] ܈H\Y\ۘ\Y]\Y\˜\[H[ݙ[Y[و[H[\]Z\Y[ P^] \H\[[YXH]\K[H\X][ۜ[ZZ\8$[[H[\[Bۘ\وH[\KHܙ[]Y[ۜX]H۝\][ۂ]ݙ\Y[\Y[]Hܛ[][[\\[ܙB[]\YܙKHY[H\HXYH[[[\[S