The first Meetings and Events Manifesto for Britain, created by a dedicated Government Affairs Group in the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), was officially launched last night in London.
BVEP chairman Michael Hirst, OBE, described the launch as “one of the most significant events for our industry. It begins the process of ensuring this vital sector achieves the voice it so critically needs”.
The launch took place at De Vere Venues Holborn Bars in front of an invited audience of industry leaders and media.
The 12-page manifesto, sponsored by ICC Excel London, was created in consultation with major industry trade associations and professional bodies.
The document sets out 10 ‘reasons’ why meetings and events are important to Britain, along with nine separate areas of policy, designed to achieve the proclaimed overall objective: “To make Britain the natural destination choice and an international hub for all sectors of the events industry”.
The manifesto has been sent to 350 MPs, specifically selected for the relevance of events in their constituencies. Key ministers and government officials and 50 members of the House of Lords had also received the manifesto, said Hirst. They will be invited to the House of Commons on 20 October, during National Meetings Week, to a presentation on the meetings sector.
Hirst noted that the outgoing government’s minister responsible for the sector had promised bid support for up to 20 major events and said he hoped the new manifesto would help make the case for widening that support under the new government.
“Meetings and events are the 21st century drivers of the visitor economy, with the power to transform a destination,” Hirst added.
The 10 ‘reasons’, identified by the manifesto, why meetings and events are important to Britain are:
- The industry is worth £25bn
- Britain is acknowledged as a world leader, not only by events held, but because of the talent of its organisers to stage events overseas
- The sector generates 530,000 direct jobs
- The workforce is diverse and highly-skilled
- Eight million international visitors buy over £100bn of goods
- 25,000 businesses depend on the vibrancy of the sector
- New infrastructure is developed through the industry’s activities
- Events benefit local culture and the nation’s heritage
- Britain is entering a golden era of sporting festivals, including the 2012 Games, 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2015 Rugby World Cup and, possibly, the 2018 FIFA World Cup
- Meetings and events have a positive impact on community well-being, education, social diversity and civic pride.