Chris Skeith, chief executive of AEO, Mike Rusbridge, former chair of Reed Exhibitions and Simon Hughes, director of EVCOM have been named among the members of the first UK Events Industry Board (EIB).

The group have gathered for their first official meeting today (20 January).

The board is chaired by Nick de Bois (pictured above), who will report into the Minister for Tourism (and subsequently the Inter-Ministerial Group on Tourism), and the GREAT programme board, and will consist of a number of highly senior and influential members of the UK events industry.

“It’s been a long time coming, but I am delighted that the business events sector has the opportunity to work closely with government to help identify and drive new business for the sector and for Britain,” said de Bois. “I am grateful to the new board members who have so willingly given up their valuable time to support this exciting opportunity. Now the work begins.”

The EIB will also be joined by a further number of senior officials and representatives from government departments, including the Department of Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and UK Trade & Industry (UKTI).

Commenting on the boards formation, Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch said: “The UK boasts a world-leading events industry that contributes around £40bn to the economy and draws hundreds of thousands of business visitors to our shores every year.

“This board will bring together leaders from across the sector to help us build on the success of this growing industry.”

The current industry members of the EIB are:

·       Nick de Bois, chair

·       Michael Hirst OBE, deputy chair and chair of the BVEP

·       Martin Lewis, founder of Intellectual Capitals and managing editor of CAT Publications

·       Mike Rusbridge, former chair of Reed Exhibitions – attending in a personal capacity

·       Simon Gidman, head of Business Visits and Events – Visit England

·       Joss Croft, marketing director – Visit Britain

·       Paul Bush OBE, director of Events – Visit Scotland

·       Manon Antoniazzi, chief executive officer, Tourism and Marketing for Wales

·       Naomi Waite, director of marketing – Northern Ireland Tourist Board

·       Tracy Halliwell MBE, director of Business Tourism and Major events – London and Partners

·       Chris Skeith, chief executive of AEO and vice chair BVEP

·       Simon Hughes, director of EVCOM and vice chair BVEP

·       Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of British Hospitality Association

·       Will Whitehorn, chair of the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre

Among the EIB’s broad remit of projects, its key objectives will be:

·       To increase effective cross-working across government departments

·       To identify international events that can be attracted to Britain

·       To support existing events that have the potential to develop further

In addition, the EIB will seek to consult and advise on what barriers may currently exist in bringing major business events to the UK, and that government can assist in removing, either through further legislation or influence, and which will ultimately help support their business growth agenda.