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Meetings Industry Association urges government support to revive ‘decimated’ industry

New Meetings Industry Association research has revealed the business meeting and events sector has been decimated by the impacts of Covid-19 and is need of urgent help from the government.  

Jane Longhurst

The research, based on insights from the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) from a survey of 197 venues, revealed average business revenue losses at £2,398,600.

The mia also estimates an average of 126,000 job losses throughout the industry with catering, front-of-house and events and account managers being the roles most affected.

The trade body is now calling for significant action from the Government to ensure further job losses are curtailed.

“The absolute bare minimum the Government needs to do right now is to recognise that the business meetings and events sector won’t recover just because they declare venues ‘open’,” mia chief executive, Jane Longhurst told M&IT.

“We need them to extend the furlough scheme to give the sector the same opportunity that they have given others – retail, for instance, is still benefitting from the furlough scheme even though it has been open for business since 15 June.  If they were to give the sector the same benefit, it would see the furlough scheme available until February 2021.”

Longhurst also suggested that beyond the bare minimum, the Government also needs to look at a scheme to get businesses meeting again,  “perhaps a ‘Meet Out to Help Out’ scheme would encourage a few more corporates to start booking smaller meetings again instead of relying on online platforms such as Zoom.”

The research indicated that with government intervention including the extension of the furlough scheme and other support, 75 per cent of event venues reported redundancies could be avoided with up to as many as 140,000 being saved.

However, despite business events of up to 30 people now being permitted in Covid-secure venues through various accreditations, “the industry is yet to see the green shoots of recovery,” added Longhurst.

The research found that the constantly changing government regulations surrounding events have resulted in many venues opting to remain closed, with 15 per cent stating they will be remained closed until 2021.

However, the research found that of the venues that have reopened or plan to reopen, a median of £7,500 has been spent on safety measures that largely go above and beyond the government’s requirements.