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de bois

Your industry needs you!

By Nick de Bois, chair, Events Industry Board

The UK Events industry Board was formed in January 2016 as the government advisory board on the UK Events and Exhibitions sector. Its job is to: advise the Government on how to successfully implement their Business Visits and Events Strategy; look for ways to improve and promote the UK Events sector; and finally, to act as a sounding board and point of dialogue between Ministers and the industry.

Our mutual goal is to help the UK become the destination of choice for international business events and help internationalise existing UK based events to drive short and long term investment in the UK.

The Board is the only formal joint industry and government body that exists to ensure that the wishes and aspirations of government are translated into action. We try, for example, to ensure that government removes - as far as possible - the barriers to our sector’s international competiveness and lends the full weight of its “soft power” to help win new international events in the UK.

Looking back over the last two years, we have successfully overseen the introduction of the Government’s Event Support Program which channels financial support into events that can demonstrate a return on investment through increasing international visitors. The sectors we have been focusing on – such as life sciences, engineering and digital services - reflect the industrial priorities set by government which are set to drive the UK’s economic growth.

We shall be now reviewing this programme and making changes to further increase its reach and effectiveness.

At the same time the Board has been a catalyst for delivering government’s soft power in supporting international bids on behalf of host cities and destinations in the UK. This includes letters of support, Ministerial videos and the use of national buildings and facilities. We would welcome even more uptake of this valuable resource from bidders within the UK.

The competitiveness of the UK event sector after the Brexit transition period is crucial.

So whilst the many trade bodies that represent the sector are fully engaged with the Government on this issue, the Events Industry Board has set up two new working groups on skills, talent and human resources and on infrastructure.

I am looking for as many #eventprofs as possible to engage with this work by contacting me at the Board’s offices in the Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport via ellen.mackrill@culture.gov.uk.

Finally, sitting alongside us on the Board are the devolved regions of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and VisitBritain who are co-ordinating destination marketing initiatives across the country.

We are fully engaged with them and advising on the benefits of an effective whole destination approach to welcoming delegates and highlighting best practice and engagement with other service providers such as hotels, transport providers, retail and municipal authorities.

After two years of establishing the events industry firmly on the Government’s agenda, we now look ahead to a period of sustained improvement in the UK’s offer to the international events community.

To make sure we get there, we need as much of your engagement and support as possible and I look forward to achieving great success together.