Divorce is rarely simple, and some agents fear there would be economic repercussions if Britain were to walk out on the EU. "One of my concerns is that leading companies will transfer their headquarters out of London to another European location," said Sam Robson, group events director at The Appointment Group. "If fewer companies are based in London, it will make it harder for event agencies to pitch for business."
In addition, she believes the financial processes of travelling may be negatively impacted. "For example, UK VAT regulation makes the process simpler. What would happen if we were to leave the EU?"
Simon Hughes, vice chair of Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), also voiced concerns on the subject. "Right now it's very easy to travel to Europe," he said. "If we weren't in the EU, it would still be relatively easy, but I suspect it would take more time. And we might not benefit as much from cheap flights."
It's not just external events that would be affected. Hughes worries that inbound events could also be impacted, with added challenges surrounding visas and red tape. "If we left the EU, I feel those challenges would remain and create further barriers. It could make the UK a more expensive place to visit."
Although Ville-Aleksi Mineur, country manager, UK at Pacific World, agrees that the cost of coming to the UK may increase in the event of a Brexit, he doesn't believe it will put people off visiting the country. "The concern is that London is already an expensive destination and will become more so," he said. "But we also have something unique to offer, so I don't necessarily think that will have too much impact. Even if we leave, people will still want to come here."
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