Alistair Turner: Organisers must lobby policymakers

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Organisers have a responsibility to their peers to lobby policymakers on an amazing events industry, says Alistair Turner, PR Director, Britain for Events

One of the most challenging tasks faced by those trying to influence government policy towards the events Industry is to get politicians to recognise the breadth of benefits events bring to the economy. You’d think the message would have got through on the back of the Olympics and Paralympics, but somehow that success has been claimed by the sports sector. The valuable contribution made by Britain’s event professionals in creativity, logistics and staging seems to be ignored.

The importance of what we do cannot be taken for granted. At every opportunity, we must ensure policymakers are given the bigger picture. We must invite national and local politicians to attend events and while they are there, not only can they make the opening speech, but they can be introduced to suppliers, attendees and contractors, so they can get the full picture ­– businesses thrive on events.

The Britain for Events campaign, working with the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), the industry umbrella representative body, promotes the UK events industry. In the last 12 months it has set out to raise the profile of business events alongside the enthusiasm generated from the Olympic fervour. After all an extra £500 million will be derived from business meetings and incentive groups who visited the Games and held meetings and special events around Britain.

With a new Minister for Tourism who also holds the responsibilities for Sport and Olympic Legacy, there is a new opportunity to explain how all events can achieve real benefit and help with Britain’s growth agenda. Using the new Minister’s influence with other government colleagues we hope to establish a Ministerial Bid Support initiative that will engage Ministers across government departments in helping to secure and host more international events.

But we cannot do all its advocacy work alone. That’s why every show organiser across the country has an opportunity and a responsibility to underline the message that events drive business and shape communities.

The events industry has so much to offer and unlike many other industry sectors, it can demonstrate how it puts on a good show. You must take the opportunity to use your live events to influence policymakers by inviting them attend so they can look, listen and learn.