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UK events board assembles to support government strategy

The UK Event Industry Board will support key strategy objectives to strengthen the UK's international position

Pictured: Tracy Halliwell is among those named on the inaugural UK Event Industry Board

The first UK Event Industry Board (EIB) has been revealed ahead of its first meeting.

Assembled to help the industry make representation to government as part of the strategy to strengthen the UK’s position as an international event destination, the EIB consists of some of the most influential names in the sector and will be chaired by Nick de Bois, who will report into the Minister for Tourism and subsequently the Inter-Ministerial Group on Tourism.

The EIB, which will meet for the first time today (20 January), will also be joined by a further number of senior officials and representatives from government departments, including the Department of Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and UK Trade & Industry (UKTI).

Tourism minister Tracey Crouch said: "The UK boasts a world-leading events industry that contributes around £40 billion to the economy and draws hundreds of thousands of business visitors to our shores every year.

"This board will bring together leaders from across the sector to help us build on the success of this growing industry."

The board is made up of a mix of leading government and industry bodies responsible for influencing and attracting international events to the UK and growing existing event activity, as well as individuals whose experience of international competitiveness in the sector could be invaluable in implementing the recommendations laid out in last year’s Business Visits and Events Strategy.

The current industry members of the EIB are:
- Nick de Bois: chair
- Michael Hirst OBE: deputy chair and chair of the Business Visits & Events Partnership
- Martin Lewis: founder of Intellectual Capitals and managing editor of CAT Publications
- Mike Rusbridge: former chair of Reed Exhibitions - attending in a personal capacity
- Simon Gidman: head of business visits and events ­ Visit England
- Joss Croft: marketing director - Visit Britain
- Paul Bush OBE: director of events - Visit Scotland
- Manon Antoniazzi: CEO Tourism and Marketing for Wales
- Naomi Waite: director of marketing - Northern Ireland Tourist Board
- Tracy Halliwell MBE: director of business tourism and major events -­ London and Partners
- Chris Skeith: chief executive of AEO and vice chair BVEP
- Simon Hughes: director of EVCOM and vice chair BVEP
- Ufi Ibrahim: CEO of British Hospitality Association
- Will Whitehorn: chair of the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre

To further support the work of the board, industry communications agency Davies Tanner has been appointed as special advisors to the EIB, with responsibility for communications and industry relations.

Chair Nick de Bois said: “It’s been a long time coming, but I am delighted that the business events sector has the opportunity to work closely with government to help identify and drive new business for the sector and for Britain. I am grateful to the new board members who have so willingly given up their valuable time to support this exciting opportunity. Now the work begins.”

The board’s key objectives are:
- To increase effective cross ­working across government departments
- To identify international events that can be attracted to Britain
- To support existing events that have the potential to develop further

In addition, the EIB will seek to consult and advise on which barriers may exist in bringing major business events to the UK, and that government can assist in removing, either through further legislation or influence, and which will ultimately help support the business growth agenda.

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