New campaign warns that 525,000 events industry jobs could go

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

More than 525,000 jobs are at risk in the UK’s £84bn events and experiences industry and three out of four companies could go bust by next February, the Government has been warned.

A new campaign, #WeCreateExperiences, has been launched to raise awareness of the importance of live events and experiences to the UK economy.

One Industry One Voice, a coalition of events industry associations and businesses, representing thousands of agencies, promoters, organizers, venues, suppliers and freelance communities, is behind the campaign.

It has now laid bare the dire state of the industry in the face of coronavirus restrictions in research it has presented to ministers.

Findings include:

  • 77% of events and exhibition businesses have paused trading completely at some point since lockdown
  • Businesses experienced an average 89.5% year on year fall in revenue in August
  • Four out of 10 firms have between 75%-100% of staff on furlough and the end of the scheme is likely to lead to 170,000 immediate job losses
  • 80% of events and exhibition firms were ineligible for the grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses based on rateable value and only 27% were able to access Bounceback loans
  • 44% of events and exhibitions companies do not believe they have the financial resilience to survive until the end of November, rising to 76% by the end of February 2021

Since March, 845 major exhibitions have been cancelled, amounting to £8.6bn of lost economic impact.

Industry leaders now want to work with government to devise a roadmap for reopening, with safety measures going beyond mandatory protocols and utilising the latest technology including touch-free registration on arrival, one-way systems, rapid testing and air filtration to create bio-secure venues.

The #WeCreateExperiences campaign, targeted at the public and corporate buyers, will offer reassurance that the UK is a global leader in events, especially in safety measures, and set the scene for the return of live events in 2021.

Simon Hughes, co-founder of the #WeCreateExperiences campaign, said: “The message is clear: whether it is engaging with staff, launching products or delivering content at conferences, the industry has invested in the best technology and management to ensure they can be held safely.

"Live events will return in 2021 and there will be pent-up demand. Businesses who commit budgets to events in 2021 will reap the rewards and steal a march on their competitors.”

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