Fewer events and less investment in sector predicted should UK vote to leave EU

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Fewer events and less investment in sector predicted should UK vote to leave EU

Just one in 10 believe more events would be attracted to the UK following Brexit (60% predict fewer) with industry investment likely to plummet 50%, according to results of a Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) survey of members of its UK partner organisations.

BVEP said it undertook the survey to determine members’ thoughts on how ‘Brexit’ might affect events in the UK.

Results show a clear concern about the level of events that would be attracted to the UK and the amount of investment that would be made in the industry, if there is a vote to leave.

Just 13% surveyed expected investment in events to increase.

Over half (56%) believed the ability to recruit the right staff would be the same after leaving the EU and 39% felt that it would be harder, with 5% believing recruitment would be easier.

Business regulation was the topic that most divided the industry’s opinion. While the EU is often criticised for hindering UK businesses with bureaucracy and red tape, the majority felt this would stay the same or increase, with 44% believing a leave vote would lead to less regulation.

Many respondents’ comments on possible post-Brexit issues for UK events business, highlighted increased regulation on events held in Europe as one of the largest concerns. Other issues raised were the potential loss of work to European contractors and destinations; additional transport and other operational costs and the possible perception of Britain as an ‘outsider’ destination for European events.

On the plus side, the possible weakening of the pound could make Britain more competitive; there might be greater flexibility and ability to win more global events and trade outside Europe, with more opportunity for government to support events without breaching state aid rules.

Michael Hirst OBE, chair of the BVEP said: “This is a timely piece of research. It highlights some of the key considerations and demonstrates how many opinions there are in this important debate. On the one side there are concerns about some of the circumstances which will arise from a Brexit but there are others who feel there will be positive opportunities, too”.

He added: “The EU referendum is now just weeks away, no matter what the UK decides, the BVEP will continue to raise sector awareness and work with its stakeholders to support its future growth.”

The editor of CMW will be chairing a debate organised by the Meetings Industry Association (mia), Monday, 23 May at The Honourable Artillery Company, London, at 6pm to discuss how corporate events, hospitality and conferencing could change should the UK leave the EU. The debate will include speakers from both Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave, as well as industry consultant Richard John.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “Talking to our members we are very aware that many remain unsure of the direct impact their cross on the ballot paper could have on our sector. We are, therefore, keen to help ensure that both our members and the industry as a whole are able to make an informed choice when they head to the polling stations on 23 June.”

At the end of the mia discussion the audience will also get the chance to put questions to the panel in a dedicated Q&A.

For more information and to book a free place to attend the mia’s ‘EU – Are we better in or out?’ debate visit: www.mia-uk.org

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail