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Fears for organisers as Europe edges towards new lockdown

Your weekly event industry news roundup from ExpoPlatform – Europe edges towards another lockdown while Dutch venue stays open, UK pilots trade show scheme to boost foreign exports and South African event industry given shot in the arm as two major shows return.

UK pilots trade show scheme to boost exports

A new scheme has been launched by the UK Government which aims to promote businesses abroad through the event industry.

The UK Trade Show Programme is hoped to be better-tailored for helping firms to attend and highlight their products around the globe.

It comes as part of a 12-point strategy announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) designed to help businesses across the UK double exports and sell worldwide.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Our export strategy will help more businesses start exporting and help those who already export to sell more products to more countries.

“Reaching £1 trillion worth of exports by the end of this decade means more jobs, more opportunities and higher wages helping the UK to level up and build back better.”

The UK Trade Show Programme will be launched as a pilot to allow us to work with business to assess different approaches to encourage participation at overseas tradeshows through training.

Businesses will first be supported with training and grants to attend tradeshows as a precursor to making the decision to exhibit there.

It will also provide market knowledge from industry experts to help ensure firms exhibiting at some of the world’s most prestigious events can make the most out of this opportunity.

Some will also receive a grant of up to £4,000 to count towards eligible costs.

This scheme is to last until April 2023.

Europe heads towards lockdown but Dutch venue stays open

Concerns will be rising for organisers as Austria announced it will be the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full Covid-19 lockdown.

It comes as further damage could be done to the industry with neighbouring Germany warning it may follow suit, where there are already plans to introduce tighter curbs on people who have not been vaccinated.

The Austrian lockdown is due to come into effect today, Monday.

Leaders in the country have also said the whole population will be required to be vaccinated from February, in a nation which has suffered from scepticism over the effectiveness of the treatments.

Europe has again become the hub of the pandemic, with about half of global cases and deaths.

A partial lockdown has also been announced in the Netherlands and restrictions in place on the unvaccinated in parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Despite this, the RAI Amsterdam venue has claimed the measures will have limited effect on coming events scheduled at the venue.

The premises said in a statement: “All scheduled national as well as international events during the coming period will be held in compliance with all new public health and safety guidelines.”

US Coalition announced to bolster event sector’s voice

Two high profile bodies have joined forced to strengthen the event industry’s voice in the US.

The Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) and the US Travel Association announced the full integration of the coalition under the US Travel umbrella.

It means MMBC will benefit more directly from the association’s resources and advocacy network while providing greater value to members.

The move comes as business travel and professional meetings and events rebuilds from steep pandemic-related losses.

Fred Dixon, co-chairman of MMBC, said: “Fully integrating Meetings Mean Business and its scope of work under the US Travel Association umbrella makes great strategic sense, given the level of need and advocacy for the recovery of the meetings and business events travel segment.

“We are excited to closely align the coalition’s work further within US Travel and its public affairs program.”

Recovery held back as venues can’t get the staff – MIA report

Staff shortages and rising operational costs are a massive impact on the recovery of the UK’s business meetings and events sector, according to new research.

Findings from the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) show 87% of premises currently have job vacancies, while more than three-quarters are in need of waiting staff and almost half are trying to recruit staff such as housekeeping and kitchen workers.

It comes as part of the November edition of the organisation’s Venue Insight Report which had 157 respondents.

A “staggering loss” of 34% of non-UK workers has been reported between since the start of the pandemic, which the study said was led by challenges presented by Brexit and applications to the EU Settlement Scheme closing.

South African industry given boost by return of two shows

The return of two major events in South Africa next year highlights the need for “face-to-face encounters ” while also signalling a boost to the country’s economy.

South African Tourism is has announced it will once again host Meetings Africa and Africa’s Travel Indaba.

Both are being held as physical events with limited virtual components.

The former last took place in February 2020, just before the coronavirus outbreak, while the latter did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to global restrictions arising from the pandemic.

Sthembiso Dlamini, acting CEO of South African Tourism, said: “The need for physical events and face-to-face encounters is evident in both the industry and the public.

“The experiences over the last months have shown that on-location events can take place safely and successfully and demonstrate how important they are for dialogue and exchange.

“We recently hosted Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit, a hybrid format which was a well-executed and attended bringing the tourism sector together for a common purpose of reigniting the tourism sector.”

Meetings Africa will take place from February 28 and March 2 at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg.

Arica’s Travel Indaba will be hosted between May 2 and 5 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

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