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VisitBritain's £4 million fund a "statement of intent"

Head of business events Chris Foy says the Event Support Programme is proof of government support for the sector

Pictured: Chris Foy, head of business events at VisitBritain

The man playing a key role in the campaign to increase awareness of the UK’s event industry says the latest £4 million fund from VisitBritain is proof of how seriously government is taking the sector.

Chris Foy, who joined VisitBritain as head of business events earlier this year, said the introduction of the Event Support Programme is the latest initiative to indicate government backing for an industry worth more than £42bn to the UK. 

VisitBritain's four-year programme offers destination management companies (DMCs), or venues and event organisers collaborating with DMCs, the chance to apply for funding from the £1 million pool annually, when bidding to attract international conferences to Britain.

Foy said: “This programme is a strong statement of intent. I am pretty sure that we are going to see some strong support.”

VisitBritain has resumed responsibility for promotion of business events, and takes a lead role in the government-led Events are GREAT Britain campaign, which accesses a pot of £60m from the wider GREAT Britain campaign. 

Some of the campaign’s activity will be informed by recommendations from the Event Industry Board (EIB), featuring key members of the sector. The board was pulled together by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of its 2015 Business Visits and Events Strategy.

Foy added: “This has always been about more than money. It’s about galvanising support from across government and other areas that could be beneficial to really tip the balance.”

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