The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has proposed forming a Business Visits & Events Board, comprising industry representation with government departments and agencies.
The proposed new board is part of a cross-governmental strategy for the UK events industry, following widespread engagement with the industry over the last few months.
The idea is that the board will be tasked with identifying business opportunities and winning more events for Britain.
The DCMS report identified five key areas where further support is needed in the industry:
- Governance, including ministerial support and central government co-ordination
- Infrastructure and funding – not enough venues capable of hosting the very largest global tradeshows under one roof
- Visas and ‘welcome’ – a significant number of industry representatives called for a means of identifying high profile delegates at the border, so that welcomes could be improved
- Marketing and strategic partnerships – there was some feedback about the presentation of the UK’s offer overseas, given that each of the home nations are represented separately, with no overall UK-wide representation
- Sharing of best practice.
The report proposes targetting support for events with a tiered approach. Key proposals include ministerial level support and co-ordinated bid planning for ‘tier 1’ events; a focus on removing barriers such as visa issues and future development of infrastructure and facilities for ‘tier 2’ events; and raising awareness of the economic benefit and highlighting best practice for ‘tier 3 events’.
The new business visits and events board will be tasked with implementing the tiered approach. Membership of the board will include representatives from the business visits and events industry, relevant government departments, VisitBritian, UKTI, VisitScotland, Visit Wales, Tourism Northern Ireland and VisitEngland.
The board will report into the Ministerial GREAT Programme Board to ensure co-ordinated, cross-government action.
“This is a solid blueprint for action whatever party is in power post the General Election in May,” said Michael Hirst, chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, which has been supporting the DCMS throughout this process. “What is essential is that the industry endorses the support that is now being expressed and works to ensure this momentum is maintained after the election.”
“It’s an amazing achievement for the events industry to be final getting the attention it so richly deserves. We need to support the strategy, and see it through for the good of the industry.”
The strategy report includes a positive introduction from Sajid Javid (pictured), secretary of state, which endorsed the strength and quality of the UK events industry.
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