James Heappey MP is to join a closed roundtable debate hosted by The Meetings Industry Association (mia) next week. The debate, on 11 October in Westminster, will focus on discussing ways to encourage greater incentives for international corporations to hold meetings and conferences in the UK against the background of Brexit.
The roundtable is part of the mia’s campaign to champion a better way for business and follows the association’s highly successful EU debate in May, also attended by Heappey, the MP for Wells and now chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events.
Heappey will be joined on the panel by Mark Chambers, mia chairman and group managing director of Eden Hotel Collection; Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia; Jonathan Morris, commercial director of The King’s Fund; Tracy Halliwell MBE, director of business tourism and major events of London & Partners; Alan Newton, chief operating officer of Eventopedia; Diane Waldron, sales and marketing director of QEII Centre; Dale Parmenter, group CEO of drp Group and Conference News editor Paul Colston.
Ensuring freedom of movement and trade within the European Union remains is another key topic of the discussion, a points raised as being of utmost importance in a recent mia members’ poll.
While 43% of respondents in the September survey said they were now feeling more optimistic about the EU referendum’s impact on the sector, over half were still feeling either unsure or not positive about Brexit.
There also still appears to be a freeze on non-essential spend by over 60%, with 44% implementing a number of cost-saving initiatives.
Over one in three are also experiencing recruitment freezes as well as holds on pay reviews and bonus payments, while a quarter are looking at ways to diversify.
Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, says: “We’re delighted that James Heappey and leading industry figures will be joining the latest high-profile mia event. We know from our recent poll that the sector is feeling a little more optimistic about the referendum result now we have a greater degree of clarity about the timetable we are following.
“However, Theresa May has confirmed that the UK won’t trigger Article 50 and begin its formal Brexit negotiation process until next year. Therefore, it’s imperative that we champion initiatives to ensure the UK remains competitive within global markets and to help ensure all members are best equipped to maximise business opportunities and minimise any potential negative impact of Brexit going forward.”