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Archive for July, 2011

AEO and local residents fight Olympia tube closure

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The event industry is joining forces with the local community to protest against plans by Transport for London (TfL) to cut District Line services to Kensington (Olympia).

Austen Hawkins, CEO of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), who is leading industry opposition to the move, has already met with local resident Brendan McGrath, editor of campaign website www.myolympia.org.uk, to discuss how they can work together.

“Closing the District Line link to Olympia could kill the events business there, but away from my industry the closure of the line would have a real, and detrimental effect on local residents, particularly those with disabilities,” said Hawkins.

“Brendan has been fighting the closure on behalf of local residents. He has done an amazing job raising this issue, and has set up the excellent website which really highlights the many negative effects of the potential closure as well as telling people what they can do to save the connection. It makes total sense for us to work side by side in saving the line.”

Local residents and the AEO plan to organise a number of meetings with local politicians and possibly public protest events to highlight the importance of the connection to both business and the community.

“The consultation process has now been extended on three occasions, each time due to vigorous protests from local groups and politicians. It does make you think that they keep extending the process, because they are determined to push the closure through at any cost,” said Brendan McGrath.

Event numbers down but future looks brighter

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Eventia, the official trade body of the events and live marketing industry, has just revealed research that indicates the impact of the recession on the UK business events sector.

In its survey entitled ‘UK Events Market Trends Survey 2011′ (UKEMTS11), Eventia shows that the overall value of the UK business events market fell by 13 per cent in 2010 compared with 2009. Although the number of events staged – some 1.3 million – was similar, the level of expenditure generated fell from £18.8 to £16.3 billion. This includes spend at venues and expenditure in the wider destination by organisers and delegates.

Whereas 26 per cent of events were residential in 2009, only 21 per cent were in 2010. The average event duration stayed the same at 1.5 days, but 68 per cent of events in 2010 lasted one day or less, compared to 64 per cent in 2009.

On a brighter note, the research shows that venue managers are optimistic about prospects for 2011, with 42 per cent anticipating that business will increase and 36 per cent expecting that it will remain the same. Interestingly, the figures also reveal a resurgence in corporate sector events, which accounted for 51 per cent of all events staged – compared to just 47 per cent in 2009.

The UKEMTS11 report is compiled from data supplied by a representative sample of 360 venues across the UK and is supported by major events industry organisations including VisitEngland, drpgroup, Conference News, Accor Hotels, Conference Centres of Excellence and Event Assured. Eventia Chairman, Rob Allen, commented, “UKEMTS is a crucial barometer of what’s happening in the business events sector and should be required reading for anyone who needs an informed view of the trends and changes in our sector. We shall be using the trends and other market intelligence revealed in this survey for education, marketing and advocacy purposes.”

The Bribery Act

Monday, July 25th, 2011

The Bribery Act has been the source of much debate in the world of corporate hospitality in recent weeks. Introduced on Friday 1st July, the act is among the toughest anti-bribery and corruption legislation in the world today.

However, most commentators feel that fears have been overstated. Indeed, the government has published guidance that makes it clear that it is not the intention for genuine hospitality or reasonable and proportionate business expenditure to infringe the law. The objective of The Bribery Act 2010 is to catch hospitality that is really a cover for bribery.

In his foreword to the guidance, Ken Clarke, Justice Secretary, made it clear that the new legislation was aimed at those responsible for corruption and not designed to burden unduly the vast majority of decent, law-abiding firms. For example, he said that nobody wants to stop firms getting to know their clients by taking them to events such as Wimbledon or the Grand Prix. So, corporate hospitality firms and suppliers of promotional marketing products – including custom-printed carrier bags – can breathe a collective sigh of relief!

For those interested in the fine print, for there to be an offence in a commercial context, the prosecution must show that the hospitality both provided an advantage to another person AND was offered or given with the intention of inducing the person to perform a relevant function improperly or in the knowledge that the acceptance of the advantage would in itself be improper performance.

Environment Agency to republish bag report

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

According to the website packagingnews.co.uk, the Environment Agency has confirmed that it expects to republish its controversial report on carrier bags on its website by the end of July.

Mystery surrounded the organisation’s decision to remove the influential and long-awaited report. Originally scheduled for publication in 2007, the report did not actually appear until February 2011 and was then removed from the EA website in April due to ‘a legal query’.

The report concluded that plastic bags are almost 200 times less damaging to the environment than the cotton bags favoured by green campaigners, and that they have less than one third of the C0₂ emissions of paper bags. Thus, in order to offset the small impact of each plastic bag, consumers would have to use the same cotton bag every working day for a year, or use paper bags at least three times before binning or recycling them. Critics of the report, however, pointed out that its findings ignore the effects of plastic bag litter.

Now an EA spokeswoman has said, “We are expecting to put the report on carrier bags back on our website at the end of July. We are making some minor changes to provide clarification on technical points but, at this stage, do not expect the conclusions to change.”

Currently the EA website carries this message: “A report commissioned by the Environment Agency shows that commonly-used plastic ‘bags for life’, if used four or more times, will have a lower carbon footprint than single-use carrier bags. We have received a legal query regarding the Report on the Life Cycle Assessment of Carrier Bags and have removed the report and the associated webpage temporarily whilst we investigate this. We will provide further information soon. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

Watch this space.

New show to rival Confex

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Ocean Media Group is set to launch a brand-new show to rival International Confex. To be called The UK Venue Show, the new exhibition will launch next year, being co-located with Ocean Media’s Event Production Show (formerly The Event Show) on 1 & 2 February at Olympia. The new show has already received support from some potential exhibitors, as well as the Association of Event Venues (AEV).

The UK Venue Show has cheekily booked its slot a month ahead of International Confex, organised by UBM Live, which will take place at its new venue of London ExCeL in March 2012. News of the rival event has been warmly greeted by the promotional goods market, as Confex exhibitors have traditionally been great customers for a variety of exhibition items such as carrier bags, pens and USB sticks, and new shows are always welcomed as a source of promotional marketing activity.

Commented the show’s Director, Tanya Cohen, “Running alongside the Event Production Show, staying in central London and capitalising on the increasing strength of the UK domestic market means we have an excellent USP – quite simply to give people exactly what they want and have been asking for.  We anticipate over 250 exhibitors and 5,000 visitors over two days in year one – with lots of exciting plans still to be announced.”

Ocean Media Exhibitions is a leading events organiser operating in four key areas: specialist fashion, events production, leisure and social housing. The company staged 16 events in 2010 in the UK, Holland, Germany and Poland, with its portfolio of shows supported by its magazines, websites and conferences.