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Meetings and events 'at the heart' of government's industrial strategy

Business visits and events to play crucial role in tourism industry's bid for sector deal

Pictured: BVEP chair Michael Hirst

Business visits and events are set to play a crucial role within the UK tourism industry’s submission for a sector deal as part of the government’s post-Brexit industrial strategy.

In an extensive document agreed by the Tourism Industry Council, increasing Britain’s global market share in business visits and events is cited as one of the key activities in boosting productivity by extending the tourism season year-round.

Proposals are also included for the building of a national programme of events to showcase Britain’s business and cultural excellence and expertise.

Michael Hirst, chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, said: “The process of putting forward a sector deal for tourism has put business visits and events right at the heart of the government’s industrial strategy. This is a major step forward in recognising the importance of our industry as a major contributor to productivity, trade and economic benefit. We are not a “nice-to-have” sector but a “must-have” provider of competitive advantage to Britain plc”.

Direct support would be strategically planned with the Business Department (BEIS), Foreign Office (FCO), Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Department of International Trade (DIT).

The tourism submission acknowledges that Britain currently lags behind its competition and that a full review of government financial support and new, longer term planning operating cross departmentally is critical to future resilience and success.  Additionally there is acknowledgement that business visits and events support other key sectors and boost Britain’s image overseas.

The submission also suggests that a best practice programme could help to make Britain the most attractive destination globally within 10 years. Business visits have successfully increased the season in competitor markets and boosted overall productivity. Furthermore the submission urges the government to facilitate cooperation and coordination between UK Visas and Immigration, DIT, Border Force, DMOs and airports to meet the demands of major events and conventions.

Among other areas dealt with in the submission is a 10 year tourism and hospitality skills, campaign, the creation of tourism zones and a significant improvement of connectivity to make it easier to travel to destinations and explore more of the UK.

Representatives from the business visits and events sector were very much involved in the consultation process. BVEP chair Hirst and vice chair Simon Hughes both participated in the working groups that contributed to the final proposals, which were co-ordinated on behalf of the tourism industry by VisitBritain.

The decision on whether UK tourism receives a sector deal will be made in November.

For more information about the process and the full submission:

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