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European body threatens to move meeting upon Brexit vote

London DMC expects more to follow as EU referendum coverage ramps up across Europe

Pictured: The EU referendum will take place on 23 June

A London Destination Management Company (DMC) says more inbound European conferences may go on hold pending Britain's historic EU referendum, after a meeting of former EU employees warned it would move elsewhere should Britain vote to leave.

London DMC director Bill Prosser says the UK meetings industry could begin to see more uncertainty and cancellations as media coverage ramps up across Europe in the lead-up to the vote. However, other DMCs have reported no change in bookings and say no judgement should pass no matter the result.

It comes after the European association AIACE emailed London DMC saying it would "without doubt" choose another destination if the UK quits the EU.

Prosser said: "They're the first client to have actually come out and said that to us. It's understandable (for that particular group) but what's surprised me is how blunt they were about it. I think they're setting down a marker really."

He said the consequences following a Brexit were worrying, adding: "It's to do with our reputation and it does show reasons why people choose the UK as a destination. It's a very complex and sophisticated (decision process) and there are lots of other options out there when choosing a destination. If there is any doubt or ill-will towards the UK as a result of a Brexit, you might think it will affect the events business."

However Paul Miller, MD of Spectra DMC, said there had been no noticeable reaction from his clients regarding the EU referendum.

"We haven't received any enquiries or anything mentioning the campaign at all, but it's been at the back of our minds as to what the reaction will be," he said.

"From an industry stand point I can't see London or the UK not being a hub for meetings and incentives. It's a huge part of our industry. We've got great places and I don't think it's anything against any one country; it's just a concept of being in the EU. No country should blame us (if we were to leave). It'd be like us saying 'we don't like the Spanish or the French'. It's completely non related."

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