The Forum, held on Wednesday 22 May, was moderated by Michael Hirst, Chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP). The breakfast networking session was chaired by Nick de Bois, MP, Chair of the UK government’s All Party Parliamentary Group while the UK was also represented by Councillor Wendy Simon, from Liverpool City Council.
In attendance at the Forum were ministers from Mexico, Egypt and South Africa as well as high ranking national and local politicians and civic leaders from Australia, Canada, South East Asia, Africa, the Middle East and several countries and cities in Europe.
The Forum aims to emphasise the role that meetings and events play in social, economic, professional and educational development. The Declaration of Support highlights the characteristics of the sector as a major driver of growth and development in the world economy where it creates jobs, increases trade, attracts inward investment, spreads knowledge, enhances innovation and regeneration, nurtures community cohesion and enriches the visitor economy whilst shaping destinations.
“To add Hugh Robertson’s support to that pledged by other senior politicians at the Forum is really encouraging. It demonstrates that our sponsoring Minister understands the power of meetings and events and is prepared to back our industry efforts,” comments Michael Hirst, Chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership. “The continued support of Nick de Bois in promoting the importance of meetings and events on a world stage shows the leadership the UK brings to this global industry.”
In addition attendees discussed barriers to growth which included greater community involvement, more travel freedoms through open borders and less visa restrictions; high levels of taxations; a lack of research; more investment in infrastructure, connectivity and marketing and the impact of safety and security.
The Forum is backed by the Joint Meetings Industry Council, European Cities Marketing and the Association of Convention Centres. The intention is to continue to seek political support for the Declaration by adding more signatures during the course of the year.