BVEP meets minister for tourism John Penrose MP

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Chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), Michael Hirst, OBE, said tourism minister John Penrose MP was “very enthusiastic in terms of what business and leisure events can create for the UK economy”. Hirst, pictured, was speaking following his meeting on Monday with the minister.The 40-minute meeting with Mr Penrose had been constructive, said Hirst, adding that the minister was still considering some of the key issues in relation to the resources which will be available following the comprehensive spending review. “The minister was very supportive of ministerial involvement in bids and asked for more information on how many bids are anticipated and what their time lines were so other departments could be involved, the process speeded up and deadlines met,” he said.Hirst said the meeting discussed the need to co-ordinate Whitehall policies that impacted the meetings and events sector, including the current challenges of visa applications.“The minister asked for information from us regarding the total value of global meetings and events, and Britain's share and how that was trending and I have agreed to report back fully on this shortly,” said Hirst.“We spoke briefly regarding the Olympics and the need to have much more industry engagement, especially for related regional events, and the minister recognised the opportunities that events such as these present.“Britain’s competitive role in attracting international events was discussed, and the minister asked for further information on European subvention practices.“We also discussed the role of local authorities and the need to get the message over to them in terms of the role events can play in place-making,” Hirst added. The minister agreed that bilateral meetings should continue to take place with his officials and the Partnership on a regular basis, and on the assumption that there were meaningful outcomes to be achieved.“Finally, it was impressed upon the Minister the need to have a relevant Minister attend the House of Commons industry reception on 20 October, during National Meetings and Events Week, and he confirmed he would review availability.”
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