MRU requests help on staff skills gap

The MICE Research Unit (MRU) has called for further government support of the C&I industry, following the results of its latest research into market trends.

The research has shown there is a lack of skilled human resources in the conference industry and a need for improved education and training of the sector's staff.

"Low pay and a poor image of the conference industry are thought to be contributory factors as to why the industry struggles to recruit,

said head of the MRU, Adele Ladkin. "The industry needs to create a professional career structure."

Ladkin added that the industry required additional funding for both national and international marketing campaigns.

"We need to raise the profile of the UK as a MICE destination,

she said.

"This would enable us to compete more effectively with other European destinations. Grants for business development and renovation would also help revive some of the UK's older accommodation stock. Subsidising inbound trade and reducing VAT on hotel beds would help the UK to be more competitive."

While the MRU is focusing its research initially on London and Bournemouth, it is hoping to expand to other UK destinations in the near future, including other coastal towns such as Brighton and Blackpool. The aim of the unit is to provide a centralised research service on MICE activities within the UK.

The MRU is based within the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research at Bournemouth University, and is funded by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board.

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