Insight: Issue 57 (11th August)
It’s good news galore in today’s insight!
Level zero has officially ended in Scotland, paving the way for large-scale outdoor and indoor events; a new HBAA poll suggests 65% of event profs are seeing a boost in client confidence; the UK events sector has *finally* been promised a COVID insurance scheme; one of the UK’s leading exhibition venues, the NEC in Birmingham, re-opened its doors to nearly 30,000 visitors last week; Tokyo 2021 offered a beacon of hope to event profs everywhere; and Paris 2024 promises to be cheaper and greener than any games before.
Scotland exits level zero at last
Level zero has officially ended in Scotland, with almost all of the remaining anti-COVID measures now removed. This means there is no longer a legal requirement for physical distancing, and hospitality can finally re-open at full capacity.
Monday also signalled the return of outdoor events of more than 5,000 people, and indoor events of more than 2,000 – but remember, organisers still have to apply for permission from local authorities and the government to get the go-ahead. We know the pandemic is far from over (keep on wearing those face masks, kids!) but this is still a win worth celebrating.
65% of event profs see boost in client confidence
Following the UK-wide relaxation of the rules, a new HBAA poll has revealed that almost two-thirds of event profs (65%) are seeing a boost in client confidence to book and confirm events – reflecting a growing desire and commitment to get back to in-person gatherings.
The poll showed that 14% of event profs have seen a ‘major boost’ in business and client confidence, with 51% experiencing a ‘slight boost’. Some 27% reported ‘no impact’, and only 7% said confidence to book events was declining. Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of the HBAA, commented:
“This poll shows some encouraging results for the business events, meetings and accommodation sector. It is great to see that confidence levels among corporate clients to book and confirm business events are on the rise.”
UK events promised COVID insurance scheme
After months of calls for government support – and an endless string of cancelled festivals and events – Rishi Sunak has finally promised the events industry a COVID insurance scheme.
The chancellor announced that the government has partnered with Lloyd’s to create the ‘live events reinsurance scheme’, worth more than £750m. The fund will cover costs incurred if events are cancelled due to government restrictions.
The bad news is – with most restrictions now lifted – it is too-little-too-late for many event organisers who have “lost the summer”. The good news is, of course, that the scheme will hopefully provide our sector with the confidence it needs to plan and invest in future events.
Expos return safely to Birmingham’s NEC
One of the UK’s leading exhibition venues – the NEC in Birmingham – has safely welcomed two large-scale exhibitions and nearly 30,000 visitors to its halls last week.
By hosting The Festival of Quilts and The UK Games Expo, the NEC has kickstarted its Venue Protect framework – a series of measures that help to ensure events are safely risk-assessed and staged. Janine Smith, Venue Sales Director of NEC Group Conventions & Exhibitions, said:
“It’s fantastic to see events breathing life into our venue again. We will carry this momentum through to our next events and look forward to safely welcoming many more visitors, exhibitors, suppliers and partners over the coming months.”
Tokyo 2021: a beacon of hope for event profs
Following the vibrant closing ceremony on 9 August, it seems that the world is coming to a consensus: while COVID proved it could delay the Olympics by a year, it could not stop the event from being an entertaining and exhilarating success.
Tokyo welcomed 11,500 athletes, along with 79,000 overseas officials, media personnel and support staff. To ensure limited COVID transmission, each attendee was tested every day, and around 80% of athletes were vaccinated. Plus, $874m was dedicated toward infection prevention measures – so, you know, that helped.
From these 90,500 individuals, there were only 353 positive COVID cases between 1 July–5 August, and no significant outbreaks were recorded. That’s excellent news for event profs, of course, as it seems COVID measures allowed the Olympics to run safely and successfully.
Paris 2024: cheaper & greener than ever before
Looking ahead four years – French officials are confident the 2024 games in Paris will be a similarly smashing success. That’s thanks to the city’s abundance of existing first-class venues, coupled with the organisers’ request for a comparatively modest €7.3 billion estimated budget (of that, just €1 billion is set to come from taxpayers; the rest from private funding and ticket sales).
Organisers are also adamant that the event will be cheaper and greener than ever before, offering a chance to revive the country’s passion for the Olympics, and an opportunity – in the words of Etienne Thobois, CEO of Paris 2024 – ‘to show the world what France has to offer’.