The Arts got exciting news yesterday.
The Chancellor found £1.5bn in a cupboard or drawer, somewhere within 11 Downing Street.
It’s a handy find, and he’s using the cash to help protect UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues.
And that’s welcome news. I love going to those places myself, and I recognise the considerable value they create both culturally and financially.
However, the lack of news from HM’s government on when exhibitions and conferences can restart is all the more puzzling.
Here’s an industry that drives commerce and tax revenues especially, for and from SME’s.
Other parts of the economy that function with people in attendance like pubs, restaurants and retail reopened this weekend to great fanfare.
Yet, for events, there has been a long silence around confirming a reopening date.
European shows plan for September restart
Exhibitors around the world, including those in the UK, had their sales ball taken away in March.
Overnight, leads, enquiries and orders from this route to market stopped. A void was created that virtual events have been unable to fill.
In mainland Europe, trade shows will be opening from September onwards in France, Germany, Italy and Austria.
The decision is not reckless. There is a detailed plan for the safe operation of events.
The plan was coordinated by UFI; The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (and UK organisers contributed to this plan).
The Meetings and Event Industry have also published a plan for reopening and operating safely.
Massive lobbying campaign: UK Government announcement promised this week
A tremendous amount of lobbying by organisations, trade associations and individual businesses linked to exhibitions and live events has been happening behind the scenes.
Perhaps because of this, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has promised a statement regarding the safe reopening of events will be made this week.
Here’s a tiny sample of recent stories and calls to action I’ve received in the past few days;
Take action if you want your sales ball back
For many businesses and not just those directly involved in organising and supplying events, the absence of trade shows and conferences is a disaster.
If you are one of those, an excellent place to start with getting things moving again is to write to your MP (use the link embedded in the first story above).
Let’s hope we receive good news about the restart from the Prime Minister this week. If we don’t, get your MP and local media committed to the cause.
Let’s go driving and dining this weekend
I thought I’d finish with some good news and an example of excellent event thinking – the rise of the drive-in: driveanddinetheatre.com