What Brexit Really Means for the UK’s Events Industry
It seems a long time away, but the vote is clear: Brexit is here, it is real, and we have to live with it.
How do UK event professionals feel about the referendum? And what does Brexit really mean for the events industry in the United Kingdom?
Mixed feelings and uncertainty about Brexit among UK's event professionals
Earlier this year, the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) chaired a debate that showed growing support among UK event professionals towards the EU exit. Nevertheless, event professionals are now trying to estimate the consequences the referendum may have on the events industry.
According to a more recent survey conducted by MIA, there already is a visible effect:
“In the 33 days since the BREXIT result was announced, 92% of respondents noted levels of enquires have either stood still or declined and only 8% have witnessed an increase”
Further investigations clearly show that the uncertainty itself seems to be the biggest concern right now.
UK's event and technology magazine C&IT, that regularly conducts an industry survey among UK event professionals, recently stated:
"Meanwhile, C&IT’s State of the Industry survey 2016 showed that 20% of event planners felt that the uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum was the greatest threat to the industry."
C&IT surveyed approximately 100 UK event agencies for their Industry survey 2016.
The study also showed that the fear of uncertainty regarding Brexit is even stronger than current fears about terror and security in the United Kingdom.
UK-based Event & Visual Communication Association EVCOM, too, carried out a survey among their members. The results further stressed the extent of uncertainty that event professionals feel about the UK leaving the EU:
The consequences of Brexit: Preparing for the future
While there is so much uncertainty linked to Brexit, it would be foolish to rush into any hasty conclusions. However, recent discussions and experts’ views have led to the following assumptions on the consequences that the referendum might have on the events industry in the UK:
- Promoting the UK to international markets will become increasingly important. This will create new responsibilities for industry associations such as MIA, HBAA, ESSA or EVCOM.
- Clients might possibly postpone events or simply not invest in them until there is further clarity.
- Staff shortage might become an issue for several industries, including the hospitality and events sector. This might require new recruiting strategies.
Right now, business goes on as usual. The UK's economy is untouched of any hysteria or negative future scenarios at this stage. The only thing we can be sure about is that we're in a state of uncertainty – from an economical perspective and from an events perspective. No one knows what the future holds.
What is your view on Brexit? Have you already seen an impact on your event business? I would be happy to hear about your experiences and thoughts on this topic!