The UK Tourism Alliance has confirmed that Susan Tanner, CEO of the National Outdoor Events Association and UKEVENTS vice-chair, has joined its 2023/24 board as the UKEVENTS representative.

Tanner takes the place of Michael Hirst OBE, UKEVENTS’ immediate past chair, who has sat on the board since 2013.

The Tourism Alliance is an umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the tourism industry and visitor economy in the UK.

UKEVENTS, itself an umbrella organisation, plays a role in advocating and promoting the value of the events industry within the broader tourism sector.

Approximately 50% of the UK tourism and visitor economy can be attributed to events, according to the UK Events Report of 2019. Tanner said, “It’s a crucial component, not just from a fiscal point of view, but in the positioning of ‘Brand Britain’ as a whole; everything from Glastonbury and agricultural shows to the Coronation of King Charles III.”

“Owing to the vast contributions made by events to the hospitality, tourism, and creative industries, it is important that we use the strong collective voice of the Tourism Alliance to ensure our sector is fairly represented and that our challenges are heard.”

Tanner added that she believed there was a resource crisis at the moment in the sector, with both people and equipment becoming harder to come by. “Add to this the issues surrounding finance and repayment of pandemic loans, and we have a situation in which the daunting reality is being masked,” she said.

“Many events are facing cancellation, with the sector creaking under strain, yet the view from outside paints a different picture. Together with our colleagues on the new Tourism Alliance Board, UKEVENTS will continue to raise awareness of these challenges, and provide what we determine could be solutions.”

The Tourism Alliance executive director Richard Toomer said, “We are delighted to welcome Susan to the Board. UKEVENTS has been a strong and powerful voice for its sector both within the Alliance and beyond, and it is great that this will continue as Susan takes over the role from her predecessor, Michael Hirst OBE.

“The Alliance exists in recognition of the fact that each part of the tourism eco-system is interconnected with others. Self-catering businesses need restaurants and bars; attractions need good transport links; tour operators need hotels and hostels to accommodate their visitors. The events sector is a prime example. Events underpin a significant amount of the tourism industry in the UK. Ensuring that is understood in Government and Parliament is an important task for both UKEVENTS and the Alliance.”