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April 16, 2008
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eventBritain launches to bring more events business to the UK




VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, has launched a new strategy to help British destinations “capture the attention of the world’s event organisers”. Called eventBritain, the initiative “will help bring hundreds more major business, cultural and sporting events – worth up to £1 billion – to Britain”, according to the agency.

The move follows heavy lobbying by the Events Industry Alliance (EIA) and the Business Tourism Partnership for more support for the events industry from government, particularly in bringing in more events business from overseas, and recognition of the growing contribution business tourism is making to the UK economy. It also comes as a time when live events are playing an increasing role in companies' marketing strategies, both internally, to help motivate, train, retain and attract employees, and externally, through brand experience marketing.

Aiming to provide a comprehensive support service for any British city, region or nation trying to win new events for the UK, eventBritain will complement the work being done by, for example, UK Sport, UKTI, EventScotland and the local, regional and national events organisations. According to VisitBritain, winning the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games has put Britain firmly on the agenda of major corporations and international associations, as well as the organisers of sporting, cultural and business events, looking to place their meetings. eventBritain has been launched to capitalise on this growing interest.

“Events bring enormous economic benefits to tourism as delegates can spend around £160 per day, over double what leisure visitors spend (circa £70),” said VisitBritain chief executive Tom Wright. “London’s reputation as a business and financial centre will help us spread these events throughout the country and help us bring even more delegates here on business.

“Working with our partners, eventBritain will add value along all stages of the bid process to ensure higher conversion levels for our partners in a hugely competitive market. We believe our greatest opportunity is international association business, where Britain is already moving up the world rankings and is now third to the US and Germany, contributing £666 million to the economy.”

When asked about his views on eventBritain by EVENTS:review last week, Michael Hirst, chairman of the Business Tourism Partnership, was clearly very excited about the initiative. “This is something for which the Business Tourism Partnership has been asking for sometime now. It’s a natural progression from the work that VisitBritain's Business Visits and Events team does now, and will underpin a strong programme of planned support for event organisers and for winning more business for Britain's event venues.

“At the same time, the Partnership has agreed to extend its remit to include all event organisation representatives, including sporting, cultural and festival activities to provide a strong unified voice to what is emerging as one of the most vibrant sectors of tourism with the greatest potential, especially in the lead up to, during and post the 2012 Olympics.”

As well as commercial and public-sector support, the strategy has been applauded by the Events Industry Alliance (EIA), which exists to place live events at the heart of modern marketing and grow the market for them. “eventBritain is clearly set to help the event industry to develop and grow on several levels,” said EIA group chief executive Trevor Foley. “It will help potential hosts access support for bids and in marketing events, relevant research and ministerial support.”

 

Trevor Foley: eventBritain is clearly set to help the industry

 

According to VisitBritain, eventBritain aims to unite the industry in:
• Developing perceptions of Britain’s brand worldwide to engage with and motivate organisations and individuals in the events sector
• Adding value to British bids, when required, by leveraging VisitBritain’s presence across 36 countries to provide personal contacts with organisations based overseas
• Marketing events using its experience in PR, web marketing and customer relationship management through its network of 36 overseas offices to international visitors to help ensure high delegate and/or spectator attendance
• Creating a definitive approach to analysing the benefits of hosting events across the sector
• Delivering global best practice throughout the UK industry
• Raising awareness of the value of the sector with government

VisitBritain welcomes feedback on its plans from the tourism and events industry. Hit the 'add your comment' button below to join the debate, or email VisitBritain directly at eventBritain@visitbritain.org

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