On January 18, a number of representatives from the events industry gave evidence to an All Party Parliamentary Group for Events meeting and highlighted the crippling realities that the industry is facing.

Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, (pictured) chair of the APPG for Events, welcomed Simon Hughes, chair of Business Visits and Events Partnership, Jane Longhurst, CEO of the Meetings Industry Association, Chris Skeith, director of the Events Industry Alliance and chief executive of AEO, Susan Tanner, CEO of National Outdoor Events Association, Steve Heap, chair of Events Industry Forum, and Rick Stainton, founder of the One Industry One Voice initiative.

Each industry representative had the opportunity to describe the impact that COVID-19 has had on their respective sectors.

Hughes told the evidence session: “We have been working with the Government on a roadmap for the return of live events, outlining a comprehensive series of safety measures that have been put in place, going beyond mandatory protocols and utilising the latest technology, including touch-free registration on arrival, one-way systems, rapid testing and air filtration to create bio-secure venues.

“The MIA, the AEO and EIF have been directly involved in developing the official guidance and continue to work on many different aspects in the complicated pursuit of reopening events safely and securely. For all of those efforts many in the industry still feel that there is a systemic problem that means that we are frequently overlooked – we want to ensure that this is not the case and that we are genuinely recognised as being a growth sector in the economy.

“When and how we re-open is dependent on many different factors – many of which we have no control over – but we are agile, creative problem solvers with a world class reputation for creating great events and managing organised audiences safely. We really value the support of this APPG and will do everything we can to keep the dialogue going so that we can help re-build and re-invigorate the economy across the UK. Just one small example of that would be the estimated economic benefit of £50 million to the local economy in St Ives where the G7 has been scheduled for July. Events of all types are critical drivers of economic activity – let us get back to work when it is safe to do so and we will deliver.”

Full notes from the APPG for Events evidence session can be viewed here.