Last week’s ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) U.K. and Ireland Chapter meeting was attended by more than 90 delegates from destinations, venues and suppliers. It was moderated by newly appointed chairman of Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), Simon Hughes.
Regional panelists included Kerrin Macphie, VisitEngland; Neil Brownlee, VisitScotland; Heledd Williams, VisitWales; Eimear Callaghan, Tourism Northern Ireland; and Sam Johnston, Fáilte Ireland.
Countries in the U.K. region shared local policy updates of its current situations and they rook an in-depth look at the state of the airline industry from Jo Roberts, deputy director of communications, Heathrow Airport. In addition, a poll amongst the online attendees provided a snapshot of the current state of the overall industry. Here's what ICCA learned:
- 64 percent of attendees are experiencing less than half their normal level of business enquiries and activity; this included 11 percent who estimate business is lower than a quarter of normal levels
- Conversely, 11 percent said they are experiencing normal levels for the time of the year
- 52 percent said their biggest concern for the future is falling delegate numbers; a further 24 percent are worried about bio-security and its impact on their business
- While a small minority of 6 percent expect business to be back to normal in less than six months, 76 percent expect it will take more than a year
- From a personal point of view, 10 percent don’t enjoy working from home, 52 percent love it and 90 percent expect flexible working to be a part of their future
“ICCA U.K. and Ireland continues to be a strong chapter, developing and delivering great content and support for our members,” said chapter chair, Diane Waldron, in a press release. “Feedback from our last event suggests people were keen to take a deeper dive into the domestic market and understand where we are now, as well as where we hope to be in the future. The polls provided a fascinating insight into current perspectives, particularly when placed alongside the more in-depth opinions of our expert panel. Though they include some daunting statistics, there is still scope for optimism as we work together to ensure the U.K. and Ireland meetings industry emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever.”