The Events Industry Alliance (EIA) unveiled a manifesto and presented three pivotal “policy requests” to the Government during a reception hosted at the Houses of Parliament yesterday. The manifesto outlines the EIA’s core objective, which is to advocate for the effective representation, comprehension, and communication of the interests of the business events sector in the UK to Members of Parliament. This advocacy is structured around three key pillars: “Growth,” “Ensuring the UK’s Status as the Global Meeting Hub,” and “Advancing Skills and Human Resources Development.
The Three Policy Requests
The three “policy requests,” which were presented to attending Members of Parliament, including Sir John Whittingdale, Minister for Media, Tourism, and Creative Industries, and Lucy Powell (pictured in the center), Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, outline strategies for the government to support the events industry in enhancing its efficiency, strengthening its advocacy efforts, and fostering growth.
Additionally, the EIA’s manifesto calls upon the government to reaffirm its commitment to the Business Events Strategy, originally launched in 2013 by the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, Sajid Javid. To fulfill this commitment, the government would need to engage in cross-departmental collaboration and increase its involvement with the business events sector.
The “policy requests” aimed at enhancing efficiency and guaranteeing a robust UK supply chain in the business events sector encompass the establishment of a short-term, non-seasonal worker visa linked to participation in a specific event. Additionally, it calls for the development of a foreign travel advice database to offer clear guidance regarding outbound work and visa prerequisites.
The “policy requests” to strengthen advocacy encompass several critical measures. This includes the appointment of dedicated representatives within each government department, tasked with ensuring ministerial attendance and supporting significant business events spanning all four nations.
It also involves conducting trade missions and leveraging business events as a platform to communicate government strategy. Additionally, there’s an emphasis on fostering closer collaboration with the industry to attract international events to the UK from other global destinations.
Policy Requests Aimed At Enhancing Growth
The “policy requests” aimed at incentivizing growth encompass a range of strategies. This includes proposing tax reliefs akin to those granted to the UK film and TV industry. It also entails the establishment and financial support for ‘regional hubs’ to acknowledge the economic contributions of events that regularly occur in specific locations, such as the Farnborough Air Show. Additionally, these requests highlight initiatives to actively promote the business events sector as a viable and appealing career path.
Prior to the pandemic, the exhibitions industry played a pivotal role in directing £11 billion of trade towards UK businesses. However, in 2022, the impact has slightly decreased to £9.4 billion. This sector has a substantial economic influence, sustaining 99,000 jobs and attracting 6.1 million visitors to the United Kingdom. The Events Industry Alliance (EIA) operates as a representative entity for the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), the Association of Event Venues (AEV), and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), working collaboratively to advocate for the interests of the industry.
Marija Erzen, co-founder of Solutions 2, ESSA chair, and the newly appointed EIA chair, emphasized the industry’s resilience in the face of challenges. As indicated by their recent economic impact study, the industry, although not yet back to 2019 levels, is approaching that point.
Erzen Stressed On The Need For Adequate Support
Erzen stressed the need for adequate support and greater recognition of the business events industry’s potential, which can further enhance its resilience and its ability to contribute to the UK’s economy both nationally and globally. The Events Industry Alliance (EIA) plays a vital role in uniting organizers, venues, and the supply chain that provides goods and services to the sector, allowing them to collectively create a substantial impact.
Erzen added, “As shown by our latest economic impact study, we are a resilient industry and though we have not yet reached 2019 levels, we are close. That said, we need the right support and better recognition of the business events industry’s potential to grow this resilience further and allow the industry to contribute to the UK’s economy, on a national and global level.”
The EIA serves as a unifying force, bringing together event organizers, venues, and the diverse supply chain providing essential goods and services to the sector. It’s this cohesion and collaboration that empower us to make a substantial and influential impact on the industry