The launch of Events are GREAT Britain took place on Thursday 14th April at Chelsea Football Club, officially outlining VisitBritain’s new strategy for Business Visits & Events.
“Events are GREAT Britain” is part of the wider GREAT campaign and will act as the umbrella brand working to drive more international business to the UK. Activity will start to roll out over the next six months, with a core focus on supporting British destinations and venues to deliver measurable economic benefit to the visitor economy from new events, enhanced delegate numbers and business ” extenders”. And that benefit is becoming increasingly more significant for the UK.
To date the events industry is now the UK’s 16th largest employer with more than 530,000 people directly employed. To give that some perspective there are 70,000 people employed in the hugely successful UK Film Industry, 300,000 in the Aerospace and Defence sector and 750,000 in the highly successful automotive industry. The Events sector sits impressively high up the table of significant employers within the UK economy.
It’s a diverse, creative sector that not only employs a significant workforce but has a massive influence on indirect attendee spend, such as eating out in restaurants, taking taxis and public transport, leisure time and hotel bookings. The business visitor in particular has deeper pockets than the average tourist visitor which helps boosts the benefit tothe economy. The 2013 UK Economic Impact Study, carried out by Meeting Professionals International, demonstrated that the combination of conferences, meetings, incentives and exhibitions contribute a total of £21 billion to government tax revenues, accounting for 3.6 per cent of overall UK tax.
The event industry is working with government to build on, and expand success not from a position of weakness but from a position of strength. It is a sector that with practical support from government and the agencies of government could help power the economic growth of the country and share that growth across the UK.
To do that that in the final six months of the Coalition, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) took steps to work more closely with this industry and to identify a diverse range of global and domestic events, which could then be bid for and staged in the UK with government support. That work is underway with the establishment of the Events Industry Board in March, but the Events are Great launch reminds us of the importance of integrating the work of other organisations working hard to enhance the UK’s reputation as a destination of choice, including the All Party Parliamentary Group headed up by James Heappey MP and BVEP who can can all successfully integrate with Events Are GREAT, and work together to achieve common objectives.
With the commitment of No. 10 to help drive this sector and ensure we get cross government support for helping deliver major international events to the UK, support new exhibitions with the potential to attract new business to the UK and ultimately showcase the UK to trade visitors as a future permanent home to do business and invest in we can power this industry to even greater levels of success.
Nick de Bois
Chair, UK Events Industry Board