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UK ‘needs events minister’ under new Prime Minister

This Halloween comes at a scarier time for the events industry than hoped, following its recovery from lockdowns.

The British economy is fighting back under a new leader after markets were spooked by the ghosts of Prime Ministers past.

That’s why a UK association has called on Rishi Sunak to appoint a special minister with responsibility for helping the sector play a leading role in recovery.

Meanwhile, this week has seen good news for major jewellery tradeshows in Hong Kong which return after a three-year hiatus.

Read on for the only events news roundup you need to start the week.

UK’s new PM ‘should appoint an events minister’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should appoint a new minister who is responsible for the events industry, according to an association.

Beam, which has members across business and meetings organisations, called on Number 10 to recognise our sector as a priority for the economy.

The body also highlighted how important it is to stop bills from rising – saying there is a point where further hikes would mean job losses.

Simon Richards, treasurer of beam, said: “What beam would most like the new Prime Minister and Chancellor to do is to continue the energy price cap.

“Costs have already risen so much that, with bounceback loans to be repaid as well, some agencies and venues cannot afford to open and may close for ever.

“There is a limit to how much they can increase prices without losing business and remain viable.

“We would also like the Prime Minister to recognise the massive contribution that the events industry makes to the economy by appointing a minister within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to be responsible for the events sector and for our industry to be a priority within that role.”

He added that the minister should be in the post for a “sufficient duration” to be able to understand and work to re-establish our industry’s contribution to the UK recovery.

The calls follow poor representation for the industry during coronavirus lockdowns, where large business events were classed the same as weddings.

Sunak was crowned Prime Minister last week after an unchallenged bid to become leader of the Conservative Party.

It followed Liz Truss’s resignation from Downing Street, who announced uncosted tax cuts which spooked markets and saw a crash in the value of the British currency.

His first address on the steps of Downing Street heard him commit to “levelling up and building an economy that embraces the opportunities of Brexit, where businesses invest, innovate, and create jobs”.

Easyfairs reports revenue comeback

Revenue at Easyfairs is close to pre-pandemic levels having reported Є163 million for the last financial year.

The company also announced its recurring EBITDA hit €28.5m, up from minus €30m during 2020/21.

Staff have been praised for their work to improve skillsets while events were unable to take place.

Eric Everard, group chairman, said: “Our financial performance is a credit to the fantastic and dynamic people we have. They showed incredible resilience.

“The team took the opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge, ready for the upturn and we are seeing the results.”

Easyfairs launched 19 new events during the last financial year, mainly through geocloning existing concepts in new markets.

The organiser also made several acquisitions, notably the KPA plastics tradeshow in Germany. 

Major exhibitions return to Hong Kong after three-year hiatus

Two largescale B2B sourcing events are returning to Hong Kong after a forced three-year hiatus.

Jewellery & Gem ASIA Hong Kong and Jewellery & Gem WORLD Hong Kong, both by Informa Markets, are set for their comebacks during June and September respectively.

The special administrative region underwent some of the toughest coronavirus lockdown restrictions which severely impacted the events industry.

David Bondi, senior vice president of Informa Markets in Asia, said: “We look forward to hosting the greatest in jewellery and gemstones back in Hong Kong in 2023 as pandemic restrictions recede.

“What the last three years have proven is that the jewellery sourcing experience is just not the same without our full-fledged, international B2B fairs in Hong Kong.

“Our jewellery community wants the shows. So, we are pulling out all the stops to make sure we deliver the fairs in their most familiar form next year.”

Costa Rica chosen for UFI LATAM conference

The next UFI LATAM Conference will be a more “matured event” and take place in Costa Rica, the exhibition association has announced.

San Jose will host the third edition of the show in April, building on successful previous gatherings in Buenos Aires and Mexico City.

It will be hosted by Costa Rica Convention Bureau and will take place at Costa Rica Convention Center, which has a strong commitment towards sustainability.

Ana-Maria Arango, UFI LATAM regional director, said: “Our two regional conferences held in the region so far have been a great opportunity for industry leaders from a very large and segmented region, to meet plenty of unknown peers.

“Our event in Costa Rica will be a more matured event, where relations will strengthen and a more united community will have the opportunity to talk about their major challenges in 2023.

“Costa Rica will also offer us a perfect scenario for a magnificent post Conference tour in the middle of the mountains and a green landscape.”

UFI has been operating a presence in the region since 2017 and launched the LATAM Conference in 2018.

Around 100 industry leaders attended the last edition in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this year.

Madrid venue crowned best in Europe

IFEMA MADRID has been named as the Best Convention Centre in Europe at the World MICE Awards.

The venue picked up the honour as well as best in Spain during the ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton in Amman, Jordan.

It was chosen based on the votes of events professionals and media around the world.

José Vicente de los Mozos, president of the IFEMA MADRID executive committee, said: “This recognition reinforces IFEMA MADRID’s effort to lead business tourism internationally, while validating its business strategy and consolidating its position as an operator and as a venue for large congresses and events.”

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