ICCA chapter calls for improved recognition

The British Government needs to recognise the significant impact of the meetings business on the economy by providing more financial support and official backing, says the country’s leading member of ICCA. "The UK has a great product – our PCOs are among the best and there are excellent value-for-money inclusive packages – but we are not very good at shouting about it," said Jenny Salsbury, chairperson of the UK & Ireland chapter of ICCA. Her comments come after the association recently chaired a forum at Excel entitled "Are You Getting Your Share?". The one-day event was attended by 60 industry suppliers. Lack of cohesion in marketing efforts was identified by participants as being one of the meetings industry’s major weaknesses. "We need to present a unified front in order to be able to lobby government and to gain the recognition that the sector deserves," said Salsbury. "To this end we’re working with the Business Tourism Partnership (BTP), which acts as an umbrella organisation for the various strands within our specific market sector." The BTP was set up last year and has 17 member organisations including ICCA, the ITMA and Venuemasters. Salsbury called on ministers to provide pro-active support for events coming to Britain. "In the same way the Government assists export companies, so it should recognise the business tourism sector as generating considerable revenue from overseas." She also stressed the need for more sector-specific statistics on trends in the UK conference market to be able to present a stronger case.

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