The mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, has said supporting events is critical to the success of the city.

In 2019, Marketing Manchester unveiled a five-year strategy which targets 40% growth, adding £345m to the city’s existing business tourism value of £862m (according to figures taken from 2017). This would be mainly driven by an increase in conference, meetings and exhibition business.

Addressing the Institute of Event Management’s inaugural online summit, mayor Burnham expressed his belief that the events industry is a vital component of the Greater Manchester economy, and that he would be making the case to central Government to ensure extended support measures are provided to safeguard the sector.

In a pre-recorded keynote, mayor Burnham said: “As a city we pride ourselves on the calibre of events we host. Getting the events industry back up and running is crucial, because we need to bring people back into the city, and back into our towns to support the economy; the events industry is absolutely critical.

“I know that from my role as mayor, and before that as secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, of how critical events are to the economy of Greater Manchester, and that is why I want to be having the discussion with you [the events industry at large] about how we support the industry going forward.

“I will be making the case to Government that extra support for the events industry is needed.”

Following on from mayor Burnham’s keynote, Caroline Jackson, vice chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) revealed that the £70bn events industry could lose more than 50% of its value and mass unemployment.

Jackson also noted the urgency for the events industry to be awarded a Standardised Industrial Classification code, which would allow the HM Treasury to more accurately measure the events industry’s contributions to the UK economy.