Leading conference industry research warns of market decline

The UK conference industry could be in decline according to the findings of the British "Conference Venues":http://www.venues.org.uk/searches/conference_venues.asp Survey, published this week by the British Association of Conference Destinations (BACD).

The latest research reports a twelve per cent decline in the overall estimated value of the sector from £11.7 billion in 2004 to £10.3 billion in 2005. The average number of reported conferences was actually up eight percent which indicates that the decline in value is primarily due to a decrease in the reported levels of residential conferences, allied to a slight decrease in the length of residential conferences and the size of "conferences":http://www.venues.org.uk/searches/conference_venues.asp overall.

“The conference industry serves one of the basic human needs, namely that of communicating face to face. Ongoing advances in technology and the resulting behavioural changes have created a generation of young people who are more comfortable with remote communication than their parents. The rise of faceless communication (email, text messaging etc) could lead to the demise of the conference industry as we know it,” says BACD chief executive, Tony Rogers. “This shift coupled with the widely accepted principle that most of society is now ‘time poor’ is influencing delegate behaviour, while the influence of corporate procurement departments is driving down organiser spend. These two factors could equate to the traditional conference facing a radical and irrevocable change. The industry needs to take a hard look at the long term prospects resulting from such change and adapt and re-invent itself.”

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