Government reveals plans to make UK 'conference capital of the world'

The Government has announced plans for a new strategy to make the UK the number one destination for global business events.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Jarvi
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Jarvi

Speaking at the opening of the World Travel Market at Excel London yesterday (3 November), the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Jarvid, told delegates: "the Government will be working in partnership with the events industry to develop a joint strategy to support growth in this important sector."

"We are already world leaders in holding major diplomatic and sporting events, so there is no reason we can’t be the number one destination for trade events that will help British business and the economy," he added.

His statement follows separate meetings with industry representatives and the No 10 Policy Unit and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) officials to identify ways in which the industry can best be supported.

The strategy will look at the roles played by government and industry and set out in black and white what the UK needs to do to "punch above its weight" in the business travel market and what action will be taken.

As part of the preparation for the proposed strategy, the industry has been asked to identify:

  1. Events that are at risk of being lost if steps aren’t taken to retain them

  2. Events that with a little extra support could be tipped into world-class events

  3. Events that the sector feels Britain is well placed to attract

  4. Overseas events where Britain’s event companies could play a major role.

Proposals covering conferences/conventions, exhibitions/trade fairs, outdoor events, cultural, music, sporting events and festivals can be submitted by completing this survey, before the end of November.

Michael Hirst OBE, chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, which is coordinating responses on behalf of the DCMS, said: "This initiative by government of the importance of the sector is due recognition of the value and contribution events make to the economic growth and to the well-being of the community. It’s very welcome news and I know the industry will respond positively and enthusiastically."

The event industry is estimated to be worth £48.8 billion to the UK by 2020.

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