Heritage is GREAT Britain. As is shopping. And sport. Countryside is GREAT, too. And, for those in our industry who toil away long hours, sweating over logistics and concocting creative messages, you’ll be pleased to know that EVENTS are GREAT Britain, too.
‘Leisure’ tourism is an easy, sexy subject to promote: beautiful shots of castles, sweepings vistas, rugged coasts, high-end shops. Not that these sites are exclusively for pleasure pursuits - I have been to B2B events in castles; done team building on both fields and beaches; and attended an awards ceremony in a shopping mall. Sometimes our industry doesn't always sell itself very well, remaining the plainer, more cerebral sister to the leisure industry. The standard stock photos of great big auditoriums full of empty chairs and panels of grey-haired men in front of PowerPoint presentations don’t begin to do the diverse, creative world of events any justice.
Promotion of events and business tourism may well have fallen under the swinging axe of budget cuts at Visit Britain, but the wheels have not stopped turning fully. Britain for Events, the annual campaign designed to promote the value of event tourism to the British economy and celebrate the creativity of those organisations within it, is set to kick off on July 4.
CAT Publications is again a supporter, and this year’s campaign has been endorsed by John Penrose, MP, minister for tourism and heritage, and Nick de Bois, MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events (UK) and the Business Visits & Events Partnership.
Getting ‘events’ recognition in the ‘GREAT’ campaign is something of a (belated) coup, the partnership between the two campaigns agreed following a meeting at No.10 where it was proposed that a specific advert focusing on UK events would be added to the existing campaign creatives. Look for it at an airport, museum or attraction near you, and feel deservedly proud.
The aim of Britain for Events this year is to continue to widen the reach of the campaign internationally to increase awareness of the quality of the UK events industry, working with other industry media in North America, across Europe, Asia and Australasia.
On the home front, the campaign has already agreed commitments for three national supplements in The Times, Guardian, and Telegraph throughout 2012/13. Can we hope perhaps, that the good work our industry does will go beyond us ‘trade press’ types and out into the public eye via the general press? Dare we hope that the ‘jolly’ and ‘junket’ headlines might stop if the public understands a little more about what we do. Well, it's worth a shot.
You can get involved, too. Brand your event a ‘Britain for Events’ event. For more information, contact email@example.com and check out www.britainforevents.co.uk