Dale Parmenter: Tunnel vision

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DaleParmenterShould the events industry ignore the Chancellor’s gloomy outlook? Rather, Dale Parmenter, managing director of drpgroup, and Eventia vice-chair, believes that the Government should take note of our industry’s successes…


There is a light at the end of the tunnel is one of my favourite quotes from last year – it was the saying I used to describe our industry in a challenging year, but one which brought so many fantastic memories. 2013 has kicked off rapidly and promises to be a great year, yet it seems Chancellor Osborne has different ideas.

After releasing his forecast budget for 2013, he predicts economic growth in the UK to be 0.6 per cent, half of what he had predicted last year. I can only speak on behalf of the drpgroup, which has seen a 40 per cent increase in turnover.  Does this prove our industry is returning? It is clear there is still continued pressure derived from extremely short lead and turnaround times for projects and proposals and this doesn’t seem to be changing. This is a scenario that the industry is facing and as an industry, we have adapted and have begun to see this as the new norm.

But this still doesn’t give any clarification on why Chancellor Osborne is forecasting such a low level of growth. Event budgets available are still not as fruitful as they were three years ago, but business is there for those willing to innovate to attract it.

The service sector in the UK currently makes up 70 per cent of UK GDP and research carried out by Eventia in the past few years values our industry at around £40 billion. We’re growing faster than the economy and perhaps it’s time for Government to take notice of our huge economic contribution and the intrinsic value we bring to this country.

Our expertise should be at the forefront of the minds of British businesses and we should be able to use our 2012 successes to progress, develop and continue to professionalise our industry. Whether this is playing a more active part in our industry associations, taking on new talent and adopting the latest technology, investment and innovation for all events and communications businesses will be vital in 2013.

It is safe to say that the industry is more resilient following a difficult five years. The hard work has to be put into to reap the rewards. But for the events industry, I believe we can see light at the end of the tunnel, despite the Chancellor’s rather gloomy outlook.