Brexit and the events industryOK, so first things first. Don’t panic. Brexit pretty much took the world by surprise – certainly we here weren’t expecting it – so honestly it feels a bit like nobody knows what the heck to do next, but nothing much is going to happen for at least a couple of years – and even then, it might not happen.

Britain is open for business
Uncertainty is no fun. But over the coming weeks and months, it’ll start to unfold, and our expectation here is that stuff will settle down. We will continue to work with, and be friends with, our friends in the EU, and we believe that trading and economics will bounce back once everyone has got over the shock. The path forward isn’t clear, but for now the best thing – as far as we’re concerned – is to keep business as normal. Britain is open for business.

New agreements
As a company that offers international events we’re obviously keen to ensure that we keep those relationships and trading agreements working, and it’s certain that very little will change in the near future. It’s possible that we may have to return to pre-EU Carnets for moving goods etc around Europe, but let’s worry about that if it happens, and if you were in any doubt that new arrangements can be set up to trade with our neighbours, chill out. Look at Norway and Sweden. They decided against the EU and have their own group trade agreement, which it’s possible the UK could use for guidance. Doesn’t seem to have done those guys any harm.
Brexit - what does it mean for the events industry
No more scaremongering please
Eventbrite reports that the events industry is worth £39.1 billion to the UK economy, with conferences and meetings topping the charts, generating some £19.9 million in 2014, with trade shows and exhibitions following close behind with £11 million. We don’t need to point out that the delegates at many of these events are international, European events. But it seems highly unlikely – in our opinion – that if the UK is no longer a part of the EU, these companies will still want to do business in our independent nation. Maybe there will be new trade deals to consider, but to imagine this is going to create some kind of impediment to trade within the EU would be to indulge in some scaremongering. And we have had quite enough of that.

What about the currency madness?
Event planners worrying about fluctuating currency need to stay calm and actually do the maths – today your GBP will buy you about 1.21€ (with a rise predicted as the markets settle down), whereas pre-Brexit it would have got you about 1.30€. Going to the States? This morning you’ll get $1.34 and last week it would have been around $1.46 (prices correct at time of writing). So yes, definitely a difference, and absolutely an impact on large groups, but UK groups thinking of MICE business in Europe or the US should keep things in perspective rather than read too much into the endless press drama and headline clickbait. Have a look at your figures, THEN think clearly about it, without panicking. Equally, if you’re reading this in another country and imagining that booking your event in the UK is suddenly going to be a really cheap deal, just keep your powder dry. Yes, this could be a good time to book an event in the UK – and just for the record, we WELCOME PEOPLE FROM OVERSEAS! – but it’s not like the economy suddenly means you’re going to get five star treatment for three star prices.

Don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring
It’s not 2008 all over again – at least, not yet. And who knows, maybe Brexiters are right and we’ll end up with a super-economy like Singapore. But for now, it’s business as usual here. Internal events in the UK are safe, and business with the rest of Europe and the EU will continue apace. Let’s keep in mind that there are specific motivations driving our need to hold the majority of our events, motivations that are not political, and those motivations and needs are still there, whether it’s the annual company conference or the Christmas party. So let’s get on with it shall we?

Anyone want to talk to sensible, non-panicking event planners should click HERE.

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