UK association survey reports 126,000 industry job losses and £2.4m per venue

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UK association survey reports 126,000 industry job losses and £2.4m per venue

A survey by the UK’s Meetings Industry Association (mia) has reported that the average venue value loss reported as a result of coronavirus pandemic is £2,398,600 (US$3.14m). The association also estimates that 126,000 events jobs have already been lost in the UK during this period.

Over a third of 197 responding venues (34%) are reporting values between £1m and £5m for lost business as a result of Covid-19, according to the research.

The mia has called for urgent UK government intervention to help the sector.

Compiled following its most recent insight request from the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the mia’s research details the huge financial losses, which are largely uncovered by insurance, that have been endured by the industry.

Scaling this surveys’ findings to reflect the 700,000 employed within the industry, the trade association estimates there has been 126,000 total job losses to date, with catering, front-of-house and events/account managers being the roles most severely affected.

The impact has gone further than just the venues with almost half (47%) having had to reduce, or request, more flexible terms with their suppliers, while 7% are having to already source new ones because their regular pre-Covid-19 suppliers are no longer in operation.

Jane Longhurst (pictured), chief executive of the mia, said that despite events now being permitted for up to 30 people in Covid-secure venues, the UK industry is yet to see the green shoots of recovery.

“Both short- and long-term business enquiries continue to remain well below pre-Covid levels,” said Longhurst.

A decline in consumer confidence has seen a decrease in Q3 2020 enquiries for 97% of venues compared to the previous year, the mia survey found.

On average, enquiries have decreased by 78%, with 94% of venues also seeing a similar decline in Q4 2020, averaging a 75% decrease.

“With quarantine measures in place that are subject to continual change, it is unsurprising that very few international enquiries are being reported,” the mia noted.

While business meetings of up to 30 are permitted in England, the majority of venues currently remain closed. Most are planning to reopen in Q4 with 15% opting to wait until 2021.

The findings show how the sector has quickly responded by adapting its offering – achieving accreditations and investing a median of £7,500 in safety measures that largely go above and beyond the government’s requirements – to ensure venues are Covid-secure.

Longhurst said the industry cannot do this alone. “To ensure the sector is able to survive and facilitate the £165bn of trade that takes place through business events, we need further support,” she added.

“Without an extension or a bespoke furlough scheme carrying through into 2021, job losses will continue.

“With government intervention, including the extension of the furlough scheme and other support, 75% of venues indicate that this figure would be drastically reduced, with 140,000 jobs across the industry expected to be saved. The government therefore has a simple choice, to save jobs by offering an extension, or fund those individuals through benefits.”

Click here to download a copy of the mia’s latest research that has been presented to DCMS to inform their recommendations to the Treasury.


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