The continued uncertainty about Britain’s future in the post-Brexit economic market has made its mark on the meetings and events industry.
Questions over whether the UK will leave the EU on 31st October with no deal in place have led to a lack of confidence in the economy.
The annual British Meetings and Events Industry Survey questioned 349 conference and event organisers from both corporate and not-for-profit sectors. The survey revealed the annual number of events had reduced from an average of 32 to 23 per organiser in the non-profit sector, and from 34 to 31 in the corporate sector.
Respondents admit they “don’t know” what to expect in terms of the economy – and this uncertainty appears to have influenced their behaviour. Industry insiders admit the meetings and events industry is easily affected by political and economic uncertainty.
An immediate impact could be changes in the costs for international planners organising events and conferences in the UK, as a result of the anticipated fall in the pound’s exchange rate.
In addition, the International Air Transport Association is predicting that UK air travel is set to decrease by 5% due to the expected economic downturn, impacting on delegates’ travel plans, but travel experts are urging meeting planners who do business in the United Kingdom to keep calm.
It is predicted that there won’t be an immediate impact and industry watchdog the Global Business Travel Association says it’s committed to ensuring business travellers can retain their freedom of movement.
London: Open for business
Marketing and promotional agency London and Partners is also urging people not to panic. They say that London is “open for business”, regardless of the outcome of Brexit. The organisation points out that 40% of the world’s top companies have their headquarters in London.
The capital is also home to more than 250 international banks. In fact, there are more US banks based in London than there are in New York. Whether Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal in place, or negotiates an eleventh-hour deal, the London economy will still be booming, playing a key part in the “post-EU success story”.
According to industry insiders, the capital will continue to host world-leading events after 31st October and will remain the successful city that it has been for centuries.
Brexit confusion continues
The confusion over Britain’s departure from the EU has been thrown into further chaos, after the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to shut down Parliament was illegal.
His controversial decision to close Parliament for five weeks was widely criticised by some MPs. They accused the PM of taking the step to avoid further discussion on Brexit, making it unlikely there would be time to make any meaningful inroads into negotiating a deal before 31st October.
The Supreme Court ruling renewed hope among MPs and constitutional campaigners that Britain would not be heading for a no-deal exit from the EU. The ruling also led to calls for the Prime Minister to resign, as the uncertainty over Britain’s future rumbled on.
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