The Events Industry Board (EIB) has said it is continuing to press for more government support as measures for the longer-term recovery of the industry were reviewed at the last meeting, it has been revealed.

While welcoming the extension to the furlough scheme, members urged the government to extend the scheme further and offer help to many of the industry’s smaller businesses that were often struggling to access government programmes.

More recognition was sought for the Industry in the recovery planning process and participating in the development of specific guidance for the events industry. Concerns were also expressed about the financial viability of reopening with social distancing measures in place.

Members raised the issue that consumer confidence is low, in terms of organising future events and sentiments about attending events. Members said clear government messaging was needed to state when organised events could resume and to reassure the public and consumers that organised gatherings were safe to attend. Members said that without a start date and government reassurance, the UK risked losing its market share to international destinations.

Recommendations were made for Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to pursue an ambitious Spending Review proposal which could better support the UK events industry to compete internationally. This should include key officials and ministers raising the profile of the industry across government, including with relevant other government departments, which would enable improved coordination (e.g. Department for International Trade, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy).

The Board also suggested that the government consider which government-led events it can organise as a way to encourage event activity to begin and lead the way for other industry-led events to begin to be organised. It also asked for domestic, as well as international markets, to be considered when developing any potential support packages, including the potential for a fund to help Destination Management Organisations and Convention Bureaus sell in-market.

Michael Hirst, chair of the Events Industry Board, said: “This was another productive meeting of the Board with Department Officials. Members were able to put forward constructive perspectives on what additional immediate support was needed and what measures need to be put in place for the longer-term recovery of the Industry.”

Pictured: International Confex, 25 February 2020, image by Aniseed Photo