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International expansion will drive economic - and events - recovery


British expansion into emerging economies and investment by the corporate sector will be key to keeping UK economic growth on track, according to Dennis Turner, former chief economist for HSBC.

Turner, opening Summer Eventia at Kings Place in London, warned that the UK was still suffering the ‘collateral damage’ from the euro-crisis due to its reliance on exporting to Europe. While the recession is officially over, growth is still slow, leading to ‘terrible uncertainty’, he added, despite ‘encouraging’ signs. Indeed, a poll of delegates in the room found while 46 per cent were optimistic about the current state of the economy, 44 per cent were unsure and only 10 per cent pessimistic. 

In the following panel discussion, IHG director of corporate sales Russell Green said having a global infrastructure meant the hotel chain could benefit from the better performing markets, and was investing in Russia, India, China and the Americas. 

European director at events agency Universal WorldEvents, Andrew Winterburn, said the euro-crisis had affected the way business was run and agencies had to review their models: “How do we deliver service and quality at the price people are willing to pay for it?”

However, UK events businesses were at an advantage, he said, as their cost bases tended to be lower than those on the continent. “A period of stability is important for the market. That will give us some confidence back. We are investing in Europe and in the BRIC countries. Having business in different parts of the world is key to diversifying and growing your business.”

James Hickman, MD of Caxton FX added: “As consumer spending picks up, the events industry will be an area money is pumped into. There are potentially a few hurdles to cross yet though – sterling could strengthen and we could become slightly less competitive.”

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