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UK Government Is Waking Up to UK Events Industry

Published on 28/08/2014

The Association of Event Organisers (AEO) is optimistic for the future of the UK events industry following a recent high-level meeting with the government. 

The organisation, along with big names from the exhibition organising community such as Clarion Events, Informa, UBM, i2i Events Group and ITE Group, had an initial meeting at Downing Street in June to discuss ways to boost the events industry.

Multiple government departments were involved in the meeting, including the No 10 Policy Unit, the Cabinet, the Treasury, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), Visit Britain and London & Partners.

AEO chief executive Karim Halwagi told Exhibition News that the meeting had been a success and the body is now drawing up a strategic planning document.

Halwagi compares the UK events industry with Germany’s exhibition market, with the high-level government support afforded to the industry in that country. He said: “Germany recognises the importance of exhibitions to bring business people together, to do business, stimulate trade, thereby stimulating the economy, thereby growing the country.”

He added that the UK needs to recognise and utilise the industry, saying: “The prime minister must back our industry.”

Informa, which organised the meeting, said that the joint organiser initiative had put the industry on the map with the government. Richard Menzies-Gow, the company’s head of investor relations commented: “There is recognition of the economic value generated by the industry, but also how much greater this could be if the government and the industry worked closer together in a more collaborative way.”

He added that investment and support from the German government for the industry over there has helped generate whole industries in different regions of the country.

Halwagi said that the exhibition community was hoping to nurture the relationship with the government and develop strategic objectives for growth for the industry.