Michael Hirst, chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) is calling on the events industry to lessen confusion surrounding our sector by choosing to refer to the industry as “events” only.

As a number of associations, organisations and bodies lobby the Government, creating petitions and rallying to get support for the sector, it does not help if we split the industry and ask for help for exhibitions, business events, festivals, conference or meetings, for example.

Industry is in this situation together so we should stand strong as one “events” industry.

In a statement, issued by the BVEP, Hirst explained and said; “In the really fast moving crisis that is COVID-19, we thought that it would be good to provide a short update to all our partners. We know that all of you are working really hard to support your members in these unprecedented times.

“The Chancellor made it clear yesterday at both his media briefing and in the House of Commons that the £330 billion that he promised was just part of the ‘whatever it takes’ package. With substantial changes that will help businesses generally – such as the suspension of business rates – there still remain many aspects of relief and support that we would like to see implemented specifically for the events industry.

“On that point we’d like to ask all our partners to reflect on both the language and the numbers that we are all using to support our claims for assistance and recognition. Firstly it would be really helpful if we agree to use ‘events’ as the key word when we are talking about the industry.  We really need to ensure that in the competing landscape for attention, using the same simple, straightforward word for the broad church of activities we cover becomes part of the core narrative.  The second point is that with the latest numbers developed last year for the BVEP the UK event industry (business and leisure) is worth in total £70 billion per annum. Please encourage your members to use this number when talking about the value of UK events.

“It was interesting to note that whilst the Chancellor specifically referenced leisure, hospitality, pubs and clubs, hotels and attractions he didn’t mention events. As events drive more than 50 per cent of the visitor economy, this is another part of the narrative that we need to correct. Our colleagues that work equally tirelessly supporting the leisure, hospitality and tourism sector are very aware of this and equally how important our events are for many of their members – so we continue to collaborate for the benefit of the broader community of interest.

“BVEP continues to access core briefings from both departments and agencies such as Visit Britain, as well as responding to specific questions from partners seeking advice or clarification on issues. In the current climate we have seen many of our partners taking the lead on specific issues that are most impacting their members and stakeholders and we will continue to share best practice, insights and advice from such work. Although we are not resourced to answer every single question that might arise, we will signpost our partners to the relevant source if know to us.

“The Government is moving fast but we will probably need to let them adjust to the new economic dynamic, develop legislation and amend regulations.  Please continue to share information and advice with us so that we can help create a really well informed and united industry – the recovery and renewal phase will only work if we support each other as much as possible now.”