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August 16, 2009

Meetings and events industry body steps up government lobbying

The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) has re-iterated its ‘Wish List’ to government on behalf of the UK meetings and events industry as part of the Keep Britain Talking initiative. The opportunity comes as a result of the campaign’s lobbying activity and represents a clear breakthrough to government on the role events can play in revitalising the economy.
The Keep Britain Talking campaign, created to raise awareness of the value of meetings and events to UK businesses, is set to reach its pinnacle in September this year during Event UK (22-23 September). Since the new brand was launched in the spring, mirroring the US Keep America Meeting brand, BVEP has reported that “encouraging progress has been made in gaining much needed government support for the industry”.
“The strategy of the campaign is intended to raise government awareness of the industry and the various challenges we all face,” said Michael Hirst, Keep Britain Talking partner and BVEP chairman.

“We’ve shared our concerns with Barbara Follett, the Minister for Tourism and her Officials at DCMS (Department for Culture, Media & Sport). We understand she is discussing these and other tourism issues with her newly established Tourism Advisory Council and other government departments through the Cross Whitehall Inter-Ministerial Group on Tourism.” 
“The Wish List focuses on tangible actions government can implement to support this industry through this tough environment and ensure it flourishes as we move out of recession, making business visits and events within the UK more competitive and more profitable.”
The ideas put to the Government by BVEP to stimulate the meetings and events sector include:
– A government sponsored series of City Manager seminars to better inform local authorities about the benefits of events to local and regional economies.
– The alignment of Britain's event strategies to its economic strategies to ensure optimum regeneration, inward investment, employment and visitor economy benefits.
– A meeting of all representatives of the events sector, led by the minister, to discuss a nationwide strategy for revitalising the economy through events.
– Re-instatement of corporate hospitality tax allowances on activities that seek to bring business and events to Britain – inward missions, bidding for major events, entertaining for exports. Regional development agencies and government body UK Trade and Investment to lead on this.
– A National subvention package for UK destinations as part of bidding for international events to enable British cities to compete with international destinations that regularly offer subvention.
– A step up in the Ministerial Support Programme for bidding for International events to come to Britain.

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