Today, up and down the country, around 300 event professionals (in total) attended the UKickstart 2020 events (around the country), with thousands watching online from around the UK and further afield. This multi-location live and virtual event brought together the meeting and events world to drive confidence in the events sector.
The event included a series of questions put to Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston MP from C&IT's Callum Di Leto, as well as a panel discussion with Tracy Halliwell MBE (Director of Tourism, Conventions and Major Events at London & Partners), Simon Hughes (Chairman of BVEP) and Nick de Bois, Chair of the VisitEngland Advisory Board
The initiative was the brainchild of etc.venues and supported by industry bodies such as BVEP, HBAA, MIA, Visit Britain, ILEA, MPI, ABPCO, EMA, AEO, ESSA, EVCOM, AEV, London Convention Bureau and The Delegate Wranglers. The events took place in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Farnborough, Liverpool and Belfast to name but a few of the participating locations.
Nigel Huddleston MP confirmed that the Government is still working to a go date of 1st October for large business events, subject to the the current number of Covid-19 related infections & deaths not escalating. Whilst still remaining the cautious, the Minister was keen to stress how keen he was to get the events sector up and running again, and back on it's own two feet.
He also hinted that in some ways, the industry was the victim of its own success, having (pre-Covid) previously behaved as the perfect sector with steady growth and little intervention needed from the Government. With this in mind, he said that the Government is fully aware of how valuable the sector is, and that the DCMS was in constant dialogue in terms of getting the industry mobilized again.
During the lively panel discussion, Tracy Halliwell was keen to stress how important it is to build confidence, not only for event attendees, but also for clients making the bookings, whilst Nick de Bois made the point about talent retention and how it is important to not let our talented people in the sector fall through the cracks.
Later on, Simon Hughes spoke at length about the 'One Industry, One Voice' campaign that he is spearheading along with Nick Stainton (Smyle) and how it was important for the industry to unite and support this growing campaign to help push the message even further. More details can be found here: https://mustbeonit.com/oneindustryonevoice/
More information from the meeting will follow in the coming days.
Neil Thompson, Founder of DW, made a short vlog to capture the moment as the first event he has attended in nearly six months - see it here