Optimism based on what will prove to be the UK’s most stellar events year was the message behind the launch of this year's Britain for Events campaign.
Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) chairman Michael Hirst, who kicked off the launch party at IET London: Savoy Place, said: “The events industry in the UK must stress two things, the first that there must be local acknowledgement of how meetings and events shape destinations and secondly that we must increasingly reach and influence international audiences.”
A discussion panel that included Fay Sharpe, director of Zibrant, Katie Resnick, head of events & hospitality at ITV, Jonny Sullens of Confex and Andy Mitchell, senior programme director of the IET, reiterated his opinion. Hirst added: “In this year of the campaign we will have a House of Commons reception on the importance of events to be held in September and four new reports, including a full-scale one from Meeting Professionals International (MPI) on the impact of events and a post-Olympics analysis to include best practices that will be inputted into parliamentary reviews.”
The audience also heard that in 2011 the events industry was the fastest growing sector of the UK tourism industry and might be worth £48bn by 2020 - and perhaps £2bn more than that following MPI’s review. “Live music in the UK is estimated to be worth £1.4bn annually,” he added. “For all aspects of our industry, we’re increasingly working on getting ministerial support.”
Resnick added: “ITV is falling in love with Britain again, all the street festivals and activity from 2012 has show what a fabulous time it is for British events and the eyes of the world eyes are on us.”
Sharpe was a little more cautious. She said: “2013 will be a tough year. Anyone who says it will all be roses has wool over their eyes, but I believe the standard of delivery of events in the UK is the best in Europe. We should maximise this excellence and also celebrate our quirkiness. The UK is helped by our willingness to always leave clients happy.”
The Britain for Events campaign, now in its 11th year, is designed to promote the value of event tourism to the British economy and celebrate the creativity of those organisations within it. More than 100 events industry professionals attended the launch including representatives from UK Sport, the Tourism Alliance, DCMS, and UK Border Agency.