Industry leaders meet with government at ‘crucial time’

The first of the Events Industry Board’s (EIB) biannual Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel meetings has taken place, giving attendees a platform to discuss challenges and opportunities for the industry with representatives from the government and the EIB.

And EIB chair Michael Hirst said that the next few years are crucial for the industry, with collaboration with government essential to grow the value and volume of business events held in Britain.

The Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel is made up of senior leaders from UK venues, production companies and the creative industries. The panel provides the opportunity for the UK government and associated bodies to hear first-hand from a wide range of business events leaders who support a shared vision to maintain the UK as a leading European country for hosting business events, conferences and congresses.

Lord Ashton of Hyde, parliamentary under-secretary of state for the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport, and Michael Hirst, chair of the EIB, were in attendance at the panel’s first roundtable discussion. Talk focused on the opportunities and challenges to competitiveness, including conference centre capacity and investment, transportation connectivity and skills. The views of panel members will help to shape the future work of the EIB which provides ministers and officials with guidance and feedback on how Britain may become a more competitive environment in order to attract, grow and create international events.

Michael Hirst said: “With the very welcome news of the government’s Tourism Sector Deal and a new UK government International Business Events Action Plan for the UK, it’s more important than ever that we seek as wide a range of views as possible about the way ahead. The next few years are a crucial time for the events industry – business events have never been so high on the government’s agenda as they are now. Collaboration between event businesses, the EIB and other government departments is essential if we are to optimise opportunities and grow the value and volume of business events held in Britain.”

As well as Hirst and Lord Ashton, attendees included:

– Conrad Bird, Department for International Trade
– Peter Duthie, Scottish Events Campus
– Ian Edwards, ICC Wales
– Simon Kimble, Clarion Events
– Kerrin MacPhie, VisitBritain
– Nigel Nathan, Olympia
– Sheila Pardoe, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
– Dale Parmenter, DRPG
– Jeremy Rees, ExCel London
– Mark Shashoua, ITE Group
– Giles Smith, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
– Laura Stocken, Private Office for the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism
– Mark Taylor, QEII
– Catherine Toolan, ICC Belfast
– Michael Wyrley-Birch, TRO Group