Penrose departure could cause events 'vacuum', says De Bois

Tourism and heritage minister John Penrose MP has left his role, prompting All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events chairman Nick de Bois MP to fear a "vacuum" in the government's event industry representation.

John Penrose steps down
John Penrose steps down

The Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare has championed event initiatives including Britain for Events, and appeared at this year's Confex.

His departure came after Prime Minister David Cameron decided to reduce the size of the Culture, Media & Sports Department (DCMS) now that the Olympics are over.

Fears

De Bois said: "It is not looking good. I hope when the dust settles on this (Cabinet) reshuffle there is no vacuum in the government for the events industry. I will be working hard to make sure this vacuum does not exist."

He added that, if the role is redistributed within the DCMS, then it is likely that business tourism would suffer. "I'm not convinced a redistribution is the right thing to do," he added.

Meanwhile, Business Visits and Events Partnership chairman Michael Hirst, who is Britain for Events' campaign co-ordinator, said that there is cause for optimism.

"It is important to think positively. The appointment of Locog chief executive Paul Deighton as minister for economic development was an exciting development for the business events industry," he added.

Penrose statement

Penrose, who recently voiced his support for the Institute of Event Management, said: "I’m very proud of the work I did as part the DCMS team, boosting the tourism industry, cutting red tape and helping with a highly successful Olympic Games as well. The good news is, now I’ll be able to fight even harder for our area. I’m looking forward to it hugely."

De Bois added it was essential for the events industry to form an "effective communication link with industry".

"We have a very powerful story to tell about the contribution to GDP and the growth agenda, particularly for SMEs," said De Bois. "The government is not likely to be dishing out financial support, but we want a recognition and understanding of what this industry does for the British economy."

De Bois was speaking at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events on 5 September at the House of Commons. He told the group, which included MPs, as well as representatives from event agencies and bodies including Visit England, London & Partners, and ISES UK, he now intends to continue his term of office for another year.

Eventia views

Meanwhile, Eventia chairman Simon Hughes said the changes at DCMS, with Maria Miller taking over from former secretary of state Jeremy Hunt were "an unknown quantity".

"What is known is that she now has two roles to fulfil and a plan to reduce the DCMS by 50%. The announcement that John Penrose is stepping down as tourism minister because of his worries over the lack of resources only serves to underline this problem," added Hughes.

"John Penrose proved to be a strong advocate for tourism, but it appears now that the Olympic legacy priorities for a much reduced department will be sport and culture related. Our industry needs to find a better home now when it comes to engaging the government with the economic growth potential that we represent on behalf of our members."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
How events can save the world

Crisis planning, sustainability, wellbeing and inclusion can cause difficulties for event organisers. So is it possible to host a truly ethical event?

Wellbeing makes 'good business sense'

Wellbeing makes 'good business sense'

Annie Metcalfe from Clear Partners says planners must adapt to the changing demands of incentive travel programmes.

Amex GBT appoints new general manager for meetings and events

Amex GBT appoints new general manager for meetings and events

Gerardo Tejado has held a number of commercial and client management roles at American Express GBT over the past 17 years.

Incentives are coming: 7 Game of Thrones-inspired destinations

Incentives are coming: 7 Game of Thrones-inspired destinations

From Croatia to Northern Ireland, the fictional land of Westeros has filming locations around the world ideal for meetings and events.

What does an HR expert look for in Best Places to Work accreditation?

What does an HR expert look for in Best Places to Work accreditation?

An independent HR consultant explains what judges are looking for in accreditation like C&IT's Best Places to Work.

Events budgets return to steady growth, Bellwether Report finds

Events budgets return to steady growth, Bellwether Report finds

UK companies increased their marketing spend in Q1 2019, in contrast to flatlining budgets at the end of last year.

'Unlocking the best parts of destinations' is key for event planners

'Unlocking the best parts of destinations' is key for event planners

Venues should use their expertise to help familiarise planners with a new destination, says panel at the C&IT Association Forum.

Case study: CoinGeekWeek conference

Case study: CoinGeekWeek conference

CoinGeek transformed The Mermaid London for its three-day conference on cryptocurrency and blockchain.

New senior account manager for Top Banana

New senior account manager for Top Banana

Natalie Benson joins from ACA Live and will work on finance, automotive and retail accounts.

Facial recognition will change the way we measure audience engagement

Facial recognition will change the way we measure audience engagement

This kind of technology could scientifically prove the value and impact of events, says Dan Broadberry from Brands at Work.

LATEST JOBS