Last week’s ICCA UK & Ireland Chapter meeting was attended by more than 90 delegates from destinations, venues and suppliers. It was moderated by newly appointed chairman of the BVEP, Simon Hughes.
In addition to rich content from the UK regions – where each devolved nation shared local policy updates of their current situations, and an in-depth look at the state of the airline industry from Jo Roberts, deputy director of communications, Heathrow Airport; a poll amongst the online attendees highlighted some key opinions, providing a snapshot of the current state of the industry.
• 64% are experiencing less than half their normal level of business enquiries and activity. This included 11% who estimate business is lower than a quarter of normal levels. Conversely 11% said they are experiencing normal levels for the time of the year.
• 52% say their biggest concern for the future is falling delegate numbers.
A further 24% are worried about bio-security and its impact on their business.
• Whilst a small minority of 6% expect business to be back to normal in less than six months; 76% expect it will take more than a year.
• From a personal point of view 10% don’t enjoy working from home, 52% love it and 90% expect flexible working to be a part of their future.
“ICCA UK and Ireland continues to be a strong chapter, developing and delivering great content and support for our members,” comments chapter chair, Diane Waldron. “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 UK and Ireland meetings industry emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever.”
Regional panellists were:
• Kerrin Macphie, VisitEngland
• Neil Brownlee, VisitScotland
• Heledd Williams, VisitWales
• Eimear Callaghan, Tourism Northern Ireland
• Sam Johnston, Fáilte Ireland