25 Apr 2016

To Be or not to Be in the E.U.? Brexit Impact on UK Events Industry.

What are the possible effects a Brexit could have on the UK Events & Meetings industry?

On June 23rd, Prime Minister David Cameron will hold a referendum on whether the UK should stay in the EU, or leave otherwise known as “Brexit”.

Below is a high-level summary of some of the industry articles we found online about the potential impact on the UK Events Industry:

According to a C&IT snap poll, more than 70% of event planners want to stay in the EU. Sam Robson, Group Events Director for The Appointment Group, thinks that “leaving would give the impression that we are no longer part of the same community and would not do any favours for the industry." Helen Seaman, MD of Rapiergroup, disagrees, arguing that an exit will put the UK in a better position to negotiate with Europe.

Three potential areas of impact:

Economic Impact:

Some agents fear there would be an economic impact if Britain were to walk out on the EU. "One of my concerns is that leading companies will transfer their headquarters out of London to another European location," said Robson. If fewer companies are based in London, it will make it harder for event agencies to pitch for business.

Talent Acquisition:

Some event professionals feel talent acquisition will become more difficult if the UK leaves EU. "If quotas or limits were put on EU residents from entering the UK for work purposes, major cities such as London would have a smaller pool of staff to recruit from, meaning the likelihood of costs increasing and quality reducing is high."

Instability: 

Many planners say instability is likely to accompany a Brexit. The problem is that no one has any idea about the short and long term implications. While London is predicted to be the most affected, other regions are also in the dark about the future of the UK if the public votes to leave the EU. 

The events sector is no different to other businesses in that they can, and many do, thrive outside the European Union. However, considering this is one of the biggest political decisions to be made in the last decade, it is too early to say what impact leaving could have on the events industry, not only on the businesses based there but also those companies that do business with the UK.  

The MPI in Europe Team

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