The business meeting, which was held to discuss ongoing trade development between the UK and Ireland, was attended by Business Secretary Vince Cable, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and around 300 leading business industry professionals at Mansion House in London on 9 April.
The event, hosted by the Lord Mayor Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, heard Cable and Kenny make speeches and field questions about trade links between the UK and Ireland.
BVEP vice-chair Richard Foulkes asked Cable, on behalf of the UK events industry, to support the introduction of a Special Events Visa that will ease inbound overseas trade visits to the UK.
Foulkes said: "Both Ireland and the United Kingdom have a robust and growing business tourism and events sector focussing on events, conferences and trade shows. Does the business secretary support a more collaborative approach between Ireland and the UK, including a Special Events Visa to better leverage joint activity thereby mutually increasing overseas trade visitors to events, conferences and trade shows and bring associated economic benefits?"
In response, the Business Secretary said both countries "lose out" when industries work separately and that UK and Irish business links were massively important.
Foulkes added: "The business events community in the UK is asking the Home Office to introduce a Special Events Visa to help process business travellers to UK business events. It is hoped the Business Secretary will do everything to persuade the Home Office of the benefits of this to the UK economy and consider a scheme where there can be reciprocal and joint arrangements between Ireland and the UK on welcoming overseas trade visitors to both countries."
He continued: "With support from the minister and his positive response, the industry continues to head in the right direction – but it remains important for the events industry to be recognised by government as a major contributor to economic growth in the UK."
Recently Tourism Ireland joined the BVEP through its business events marketing agency Meet in Ireland.