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UK at disadvantage in bidding for international events

According to a report from the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), Britain needs more government support when bidding to host international business events.

The report investigated ’subvention’ – the grants and financial subsidies offered by a country’s government – around the world and found that, when bidding for events, UK cities are losing out to destinations such as Cape Town, Barcelona and Copenhagen. Many of these foreign cities provide free transport, co-ordinated hotel rates and civic receptions.

The report says, “It is clear from our research that the UK and UK destinations are at a competitive disadvantage when bidding for major international conferences and related events. Competition from new and emerging destinations, as well as from existing key competitors, will only increase in the years ahead.”

The report found that 83% of overseas destinations offered receptions for delegates hosted by officials, whereas only 35% of UK destinations did the same. An impressive 50% of overseas destinations make available a contribution to event marketing, whereas this was possible in only 17% of UK destinations. In addition, 50% of overseas destinations would provide a direct subsidy for an international event or conference, compared to just 23% at home.

The BVEP report calls for a “more effective, joined-up approach” in recognition of the long-term importance of conferences and events to the UK economy. As well as providing a boost to the business events sector, it is worth noting that up to 40% of business visitors to the UK can be expected to return with their families for leisure.

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