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April 4, 2008
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Trevor Foley: At last, the support and recognition the events industry deserves




With the 2012 Olympic Games bringing unprecedented interest in Britain, the UK events and tourism sectors intend to maximise the benefits of games to ensure that historical upwards trends in business tourism seen in Barcelona, Sydney and Athens are fully exploited here. According to figures published by VisitBritain, the UK’s tourism authority, the average spend per visit by a person attending an exhibition/trade fair (£645) or large conference (£668) is substantially higher (44%) than a general leisure visitor (£456).

As a result of Events Industry Alliance (EIA) lobbying, there is now a growing awareness of the economic impact of events within Government and eventBritain will be at the forefront of ensuring that live event marketing is given the greater focus and attention it deserves. eventBritain has been established by VisitBritain with one core objective, “to work with UK industry partners to support any bids they make for sporting, business and cultural events”, according to head of business visits and events, VisitBritain, Joss Croft.

The adoption of an events support strategy, and the creation of eventBritain, recognises the potential of the sector and is a major opportunity to make a real contribution to the visitor economy. The eventBritain team is developing a suite of services and functions that add value to the bidding for and marketing of events, which includes addressing the thorny UK issue of the absence of ministerial support at events. There exists much competition within the UK events industry and eventBritain sees its role to not to negate this competition, but to ensure that events that could be placed with overseas competitors are placed in Britain. In addition, the team clearly recognises that not all organisations will require these services and they are proposed very much as a ‘pick and mix’ to add best value to the winning of more events for Britain.

The eventBritain initiative will not only have a huge impact in raising awareness of this booming UK sector, but will deliver real practical assistance and support to event organisers and venue owners, too long ignored by government and its agencies. The UK events industry is one of the strongest and undoubtedly most innovative and advanced in the world, in spite of the lack of official support. The sector will jump on the new opportunities that eventBritain offers and fully engage with all parties to maximise benefits for all.

The EIA will continue to work with eventBritain as a key priority to develop strategy further and identify real gaps where eventBritain can add real value to winning more business for Britain. Forging closer relationships to influence strategic partners has been and continues as a prime objective.

Trevor Foley is group chief executive of the Events Industry Alliance


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