BVEP’s Hirst meets minister for tourism John Penrose MP

Chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), Michael Hirst, OBE, said tourism minister John Penrose MP
was
“very
enthusiastic in terms of what business and leisure events can create for the UK
economy”. Hirst was speaking following his meeting on Monday with the
minister.

The 40-minute meeting with Mr Penrose had been
constructive, said Hirst, adding
that the minister was still considering some of the key issues in
relation to the resources which will be available following the comprehensive
spending review.

“The minister was
very supportive of ministerial involvement in bids and asked for more information on how many
bids are anticipated and what their time lines were so other departments could
be involved, the process speeded up and deadlines met,” he said.

Hirst said the
meeting discussed the need to co-ordinate Whitehall policies that impacted the meetings
and events sector, including the current challenges of visa
applications.

“The minister
asked for information from us regarding the total value of global meetings and
events, and
Britain’s share and how that was
trending and I have agreed to report back fully on this shortly,” said
Hirst.

“We spoke briefly
regarding the Olympics and the need to have much more industry engagement, especially for related
regional events, and the minister recognised the opportunities that events such
as these present.

“Britain’s competitive role in
attracting international events was discussed, and the minister asked for
further information on European subvention
practices.

“We also
discussed the role of local authorities and the need to get the message over to
them in terms of the role events can play in place-making,” Hirst added.

The minister
agreed that bilateral meetings should continue to take place with his officials
and the Partnership on a regular basis, and on the assumption that there were
meaningful outcomes to be achieved.

“Finally, it was
impressed upon the Minister the need to have a relevant Minister attend the
House of Commons industry reception on 20 October, during National Meetings and
Events Week, and he confirmed he would review
availability.”

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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