Industry representatives set out key issues for new Minister

Speaking at a meeting of the Business Visits and Events Partnership on Monday, Michael Ellis MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, thanked partners and all those working in the industry for their hard work in delivering success for the UK and confirmed his enthusiasm and willingness to offer more support.

Industry representatives impressed upon the Minister the importance of the sector and highlighted issues and opportunities arising from Brexit, calling for a bigger role for government intervention with better links between departments, greater support and a more strategic focus.

Topics raised included international competitiveness and putting in place the correct structures for education, skills and professionalism including bespoke apprenticeships schemes.

Concerns were expressed regarding the impact of local authority cutbacks impacting funding for events in local communities.

The continued role of the GREAT funded Event Support Programme, operated by VisitBritain, was discussed with the importance of the increased participation from the department for International Trade. The Minister acknowledged the importance of soft power support from government ministers and departments in attracting events to Britain and confirmed his willingness to be fully engaged. He evidenced several letters of support that he had already provided.

Opportunities for promoting extended business visits as outlined in VisitBritain’s recent research on trip extensions, were seen as significant ways of adding to the visitor experience and achieving greater spend. This was also considered as part of the role events can play in extending the season and attracting visitors to all parts of the country. It was noted this is part of the industrial strategy bid which has been made for the visitor economy.

Michael Hirst Chair of the BVEP, said “This was a first good meeting with the Minister and important so early in his new role. He got a good all-round flavour from industry representatives of the key issues and responded positively. There is already a strong relationship with his Department and we look forward to building on this”.

At the same time the BVEP has received a message from The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport saying that he is very interested in the sector and looks forward to working with his colleagues to highlight the importance of the sector across government.

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Notes to editors

About Business Visits & Events Partnership

The Business Visits & Events Partnership is an umbrella organisation representing leading trade and professional organisations, government agencies and other significant influencers in the business visits and events sector.

The BVEP exists to:
• garner the cohesive opinion of these stakeholders and to collectively influence and develop policies, practices and strategies that support and generate growth in the sector
• raise sector awareness through clear communications of the social and economic benefits of the business visits and events sector

The Partnership seeks to provide a cohesive point of view for the entire business visits and events sector. The BVEP works with prominent sector leaders including its partners, government departments and agencies to influence and develop policies and practices favourable to the growth of business events, and trade and creative enterprise through business visits and events.

It has the support of the leading trade and professional organisations and government agencies with a shared interest in the economic benefit and growth of conferences, meetings, exhibitions, trade fairs, incentive travel, corporate hospitality, ceremonies, as well as other business, sporting, cultural and festival events.