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Mia conference looks to the future

“Don’t Stop… Rethink” addressed industry issues in light of Brexit and the current economic uncertainty

Pictured: panel discussion featuring Tracey Halliwell and Dierdre Wells

Event professionals have been urged to look to the future and keep innovating at the annual Meetings Industry Association (mia) conference.

The conference at Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury was entitled “Don’t Stop… Rethink” in light of Brexit and the current economic uncertainty.

The first session of the day tackled Brexit head-on, with Trevor Williams, professor of economics and finance at Derby University, analysing what the post-Brexit landscape will look like and how foreign affairs, in particular the Trump presidency, will impact on the UK events industry.

On balance his forecast was positive – the world economy is growing, global financial markets are optimistic, and the services industry is what will drive the UK’s economy. With any trade deal with the EU set to take several years longer than the actual Brexit divorce, attendees were urged not to wait for it to happen but to keep pushing forward.

Rod Gordon, founder and chief executive of discussed booking trends with Rowan Bennett from the Honourable Artillery Company before the conference split for breakout sessions.

After lunch Mark McCulloch of We ARE Spectacular and Emily Johnson from drp discussed the importance of digital and social media and having a social strategy.

Meanwhile, a lively discussion on procurement hosted by Charles Manners from Turpin Smale Catering Consultants covered food waste and food price inflation.

A panel discussion featuring Tracey Halliwell, director of business tourism & major events at London & Partners, and Dierdre Wells of UKInbound had the overriding message that ‘resilience is key’ but Britain has to focus on improving its welcome – both literally in airports, and through its messaging.

Immediate past chair of the mia Andrew Mosely gave the closing speech, ending on the message that "together we can push the industry to make it even better.”

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