Industry warned on separatist stance

The European Parliament vice-president and chairman of the all-party group on tourism, James Provan, has cautioned the C&I industry not to distance itself from the mainstream travel and tourism sector if it wishes to gain the recognition it seeks from government. Speaking at the EIBTM politicians’ dinner, Provan said: “The meetings industry, in my view, is part of the travel and tourism industry but has different needs.” Provan also bemoaned tourism’s lack of coordination at European level and said he believed key players within the meetings and incentive industry had “a huge contribution to make in helping tourism as a whole to communicate to decision makers”. However, Meetings Industry Association (MIA) commercial director Charles Blowfield said he believed that, while the conference industry in the UK is part and parcel of business tourism, it has, nonetheless, “its own title, place and agenda”. l The MIA has endorsed the statement of common definition for the meetings industry that was agreed by a coalition group of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) during this year’s EIBTM. The definition, for use when interacting with governments, business sectors and the public, emphasises the value of the industry not only to the economy, but to society as a whole. It states that although the global meetings industry is “high yielding and sustainable, it is the least recognised international industry.” Commenting on the agreement, Reed Travel Exhibitions MD Tom Nutley said: “This is an important step for an industry that is so often misunderstood and under-valued.”

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