Hugh Robertson's appointment as Minister for sport, Olympic legacy and tourism, a new double role within the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), is a “massive endorsement of the role large-scale events play in driving tourism and social benefit", according to Michael Hirst, chair of the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP).
Robertson, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, reports to Maria Miller, who replaced Jeremy Hunt at the DCMS - another move Hirst believes is positive. He added: “It is within her constituency of Basingstoke that Andy Grove, chair of the Local Authority Event Organisers Group, is based."
Meanwhile, Simon Hughes, chairman of Eventia, has written to congratulate Robertson - and also ask his advice: “Who do we need to engage with in government to maximise on the Olympic halo effect?"
Hughes added: "Many of our members have been working tirelessly over the last few years to help deliver the success that everyone has been applauding this week, and we are focused on ensuring that the economic growth potential of the world-class workforce we represent benefits from the massive boost in confidence that has been created over the summer.”
Both events industry leaders appeared cautiously positive following the government reshuffle.
Hirst said: “We’re obviously sorry to see John Penrose leave as Minister of Tourism and Heritage, having seen him become a big fan of the UK events industry and a proactive advocate. John has set the bar high, [but] we are equally confident that the new ministers will continue the good work.”
Pictured: Michael Hirst