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The Government has announced plans to establish a new partnership with the events industry to make the UK the number one destination for global business events.
Speaking at the opening of the World Travel Market at Excel London yesterday (3rd November), the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Jarvid, told delegates: "the Government will be working in partnership with the events industry to develop a joint strategy to support growth in this important sector."
He continued: "The UK is at the centre of global business. Now I want us to be a centre for global travel business too. The presence of the World Travel Market here in London shows that we’re already staging major conferences, however I know there is a lot more we can do.
"The international business event market is huge and growing, and the UK should be leading the way. Right now we have some of the best event organisers in the world. I’ve already mentioned the G20 and NATO summits. If we can manage international events like that - not to mention the Tour de France, the Ryder Cup and the Olympic Games - why can we not be a number one destination for business conferences?"
His statement follows separate meetings with industry representatives and the No 10 Policy Unit and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) officials to identify ways in which the industry can best be supported.
The strategy will look at the roles played by government and industry and set out in black and white what the UK needs to do to "punch above its weight" in the business travel market and what action will be taken.
As part of the preparation for the proposed strategy, the industry has been asked to identify:
Events that are at risk of being lost if steps aren’t taken to retain them
Events that with a little extra support could be tipped into world-class events
Events that the sector feels Britain is well placed to attract
Overseas events where Britain’s event companies could play a major role.
Members of industry organisations, event companies, Destination Management Organisations, event organisers and venues are being invited to submit proposals covering conferences/conventions, exhibitions/trade fairs, outdoor events, cultural, music, sporting events and festivals by completing a survey, by the end of November.
Michael Hirst OBE, chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, which is coordinating responses on behalf of the DCMS, said: "This initiative by government of the importance of the sector is due recognition of the value and contribution events make to the economic growth and to the well-being of the community. It’s very welcome news and I know the industry will respond positively and enthusiastically."