Manifesto for growth

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Anthony Hyde, past president MPI UK & Ireland Chapter and Barbican head of corporate sales, considers the recent Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) manifesto.

The event industry is finally coming of age… despite our heritage, education programmes and professionalism, the event industry as a whole has always been marginalised and considered the slightly younger and more irritating sibling to the leisure tourism market. A fact that seems to ignore the sheer breadth of knowledge and skills we have to offer as well as the variety of scenarios that are represented by the word “event”.

Our new Government is already making steps towards better relationships with the events sector with particular support coming from the tourism minister, John Penrose. Even the Prime Minister, whilst not citing business tourism specifically recognised tourism’s effects on the UK economy in a recent speech, identifying it at the UK’s third highest export earners and saying that he wants to “see the UK in the top five tourism world destinations”.

Perhaps most importantly for the future of the industry though was the comment that this coalition is going to be “a Government that understands the huge potential of our tourism industry that gets tourism and that gives the industry the backing it needs.” Don’t worry, I am not looking through rose-tinted glasses and am not holding my breath, politicians of all types and parties say a great deal and frequently don’t deliver. However, this time there is a difference. We have a Government in support of what we are trying to achieve and our own manifesto.

For many a manifesto is nothing more than a document of broken promises – perhaps another throwback to politics. However, for me it represents a change in attitude and a future full of promise and positive attitude. The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) manifesto not only highlights what we have to offer but also acts as a launch pad for our professionalism.

In particular the objectives of the manifesto allow a disparate industry to come together in search of common goals. Some of the objectives will be considered more important by certain people, but that is all part of human nature and the ultimate result will be individuals and groups all working towards the betterment of the events industry.

For me personally I believe some of the greatest challenges and highest satisfaction will come from the realisation of the goals involving third parties. It is right that as an industry we should improve our economic impact and develop the sector. However, the true success of this manifesto will be the delivery of “Government involvement in the process of attracting events to Britain” and the “adequate support (is) allocated to national, regional and local Government bodies to develop relevant infrastructure and promote business visits and events.”

If we achieve this sort of recognition from the Government and nation as a whole there is no reason why we cannot move onto “more balanced regulation” and “fair fiscal and taxation measures”.

Without the BVEP manifesto I firmly believe our industry would continue to be a success, we would still be creative and achieve the unusual, the Olympics would still be a remarkable achievement and the £25 billion we currently bring into the market would continue to grow.  But all of this would happen slowly with little direction and cohesion.

The launch of the manifesto and the involvement of this government will make us great and truly lift our industry up to the next level. Associations will come together, competitors will work in partnership and our current value to the UK economy will be considered a drop in the ocean when compared to what we can achieve going forward. There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of this industry and I personally believe we will see a period of growth that when looked back upon in years to come will run counter to the fiscal situation of many other industries. Long live events.