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Events Industry Board appoints Michael Hirst as new chair

Michael Hirst has been appointed as the new chair of the Events Industry Board by tourism minister Michael Ellis, following the resignation of Nick de Bois from the role in July last year.

Hirst has served as deputy chair since the creation of the Events Industry Board in 2016. He is also chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), the organisation that connects the leading trade and professional organisations, government agencies in the events sector. Hirst also serves on the Tourism Industry Council and is a director of the Tourism Alliance, as well as being a director and consultant to companies in the commercial and hospitality sectors.

Commenting on his appointment, Hirst said: “I am delighted to have been asked to fulfil this role. Events are being recognised across Whitehall departments as a way of stimulating the economy and showcasing our industrial, scientific and educational excellence. I very much look forward to working with industry colleagues and DCMS and DIT officials to develop the role of the board and ensure that events play their full part in growing the economy and the profile of Britain”.

Michael Ellis, minister for arts, heritage and tourism, said: “Michael has a wealth of experience in the business tourism sector, so I am delighted that he has agreed to chair the Events Industry Board. I look forward to the board continuing to providing invaluable advice to government on how we can further support this important industry.”

Nick de Bois stepped down as EIB chair in July last year when he accepted the role of chief of staff to the then newly-appointed Brexit secretary Dominic Raab in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU). He left the role when Raab quit after 129 days in office.

The Events Industry Board’s role is to advise ministers on improving the competitiveness of the UK in order to secure a greater number of high quality international events. Its aims are to deliver growth through the economic impact generated by business events and visitor spend, whilst increasing opportunities for exports and investment for UK businesses. In addition, the use of business events, as part of the Tourism Sector Bid within the industrial strategy, aims to increase year round productivity, enhance regional prosperity and to provide a sense of place for local communities.

The board has created a comprehensive work programme, with a new action plan currently being implemented. It has established working groups on Infrastructure and Talent and there are plans for further industry roundtables with sector interests across the industry.