How Brexit Could Affect The Events Industry

eu referendum events industry

On the 23rd July, citizens of the UK had the opportunity to vote whether to stay within the European Union, or to leave.

It was a hugely close vote, with 51.9% voting to leave the EU

With months of build up before the final vote and result, politicians and online resources have stated how leaving the European Union could be costly for our economy, education system and overall well-being of our society.

Others have claimed that leaving the EU will be better in the long run for the UK, allowing us to call the shots, by making our own rules and decisions.

Here at Losberger, we've spent many years providing modular buildings and event tents for the industry, and although we have our own views on the referendum result, we wanted to find out more about what other events professionals have to say.

Will leaving the EU be beneficial or detrimental for the events industry? Let's see what the experts had to say...

Adam Parry
Event Industry News

“Personally I would have preferred to stay IN, better the devil you know. However that being said I’m am positive about the opportunities that being independent could offer the events industry.

One thing is for certain, over the next couple of years during the transition there will be an impact, highs and lows. My initial thoughts are that the first two things to be impacted will be travel costs and staffing costs for events.“

Jordan Schwartz

"In the short run, there will be some benefits for the UK events industry as a result of the Brexit vote: the weak pound makes planning an international event in the UK more affordable for those travelling in. Longer-term, of course, the projected recession both in the UK and potentially spreading outward will hurt events, as corporations and travellers will have to more careful about their spending.

But more importantly, the Brexit vote marks a move to isolationism and insularity. This is fundamentally at odds with the spirit of the event industry, which has, at its core, a desire to create relationships and build bonds, not to break them."

Claire Gapper
Brand Brewery

“With a new political landscape ahead of us there is still a tremendous amount of questions unanswered. For a business, especially in our industry, the ability to know the risks is key, therefore we are sailing unchartered waters currently without a captain.

Brexit will have an impact on how our clients and we work - whether in a good or bad way, only time can tell. For the immediate future we have to lead by example for our staff and clients - showing strength and a level head to deal with whatever happens over the coming days, months and years.”

William Thomson
Gallus Events

“The result has come as a shock. I had expected a close result but ultimately I assumed the UK would vote to remain to be part of the EU. I had some instant feedback only a few hours after the decision

One of my clients was considering running an event in London however after the result, they have decided to run the event in Barcelona. This is the first tangible impact of the decision that I can report. I of course can not speak for the industry as a whole but this clearly demonstrates that the decision will impact our sector as it will every other.

Looking to the midterm I can see a Government removing many of the regulations that support low paid workers in the UK. Our industry is run by hundreds of thousands of low paid workers and I can see their position worsening.

This will negatively impact the quality of events in the UK. For example, poorer off and less happy venue staff are not what any event planner wants.”

Kevin Van der Straeten

“Living in Antwerp, very close to the European capital, I followed the news regarding the Brexit very closely. As entrepreneur I’m pro European Union and the advantages it brings for businesses in general and the event industry in particular.

I’m not really happy to see the UK leave, but I have a deep respect for democracy and the decision to choose for the exit scenario. I had the opportunity to speak with a few corporate planners on the continent over the last few days. Most of them agreed on the fact that the Brexit will influence (read: limit) there spend on the UK event market.

Many of them are thinking out loud on moving certain meetings, conventions and other events out of London to other European cities like Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam.

We are still in a very early stage, but it’s my opinion that the Brexit will lead to losses for the UK event industry. If they are as big as the first emotional reactions are, I doubt. But there will be. Especially London based venues should be aware of this and might benefit from campaigns targeted at the continent.”

Liz Brookes
Grapevine Event Management

"The vote to Leave the EU was certainly a shock for most of us in the event industry. However, this is not the first time that the sector has been shaken by events and uncertainty.

The recent recession placed an enormous strain on event providers. But the strength of the industry in the UK is its robust nature and ability to bounce back and move forward, bigger and better than before.

It is important that the industry does not take a back seat to wait and see what will transpire over the next two years, as our ‘divorce’ from the EU is finalised. Rather, we need to remind ourselves of what we do so well and focus on communicating all that makes the UK event industry the envy of the world.

With the focus very much on the UK right now, this is an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with national and international partners, showcase the great and the good of the UK events industry and drive home the message the Britain is very much open for business."

Kirk Thomas
Event Huddle

“The people have spoken and the United Kingdom will leave the political union that is the EU, a momentous occasion in our history for sure.

Already we are hearing the industry rally behind a flag of unity and creative excellence, calling on better training, wages and working conditions for our youth & workers; to not rely on EU expats for cheap labour (putting profits above people).

We now need to ensure that Britain & indeed its events industry outside the EU uses its freedom to welcome people to work, study and do business here from around the World.”

Adrian Segar
Conferences that Work

“As an ex-Brit, I'm sad that Britain has decided to not to stay in the EU. A small example of the ramifications: I am planning an event in England that's organized by colleagues in the Netherlands.

The disruption created by Brexit will, I believe, make our work significantly more difficult. Everyone in the events industry is aware of the complexity of organizing international events, and Brexit will only increase the challenges.”

Michael Doane
Cadmium CD

"My grandmother always told me, "things will work out." It's good advice and allows you to keep a clear perspective. Even in dire times, things tend to work out.

A panel at PCMA's Education Conference in St. Louis this week asked the question: Does Brexit spell the end of globalization? There are hundreds of thousands of EU citizens living in Britain -- 100,000 of them working in hospitality. There are thousands more UK citizens working and living in the EU.

What will happen to them now? How will economies worldwide respond? How will the events and hospitality industries be affected?

I don't know and no one can know. Until now, most countries have been moving away from nationalism and toward globalization. This is an unprecedented move.

What I do know is that the vote has been cast and Britain has decided to claim independence from the EU. What lies ahead is uncertain but I'm in the camp that thinks if we take my grandmother's advice, we'll be just fine.

Things will work out. They always do."

Michael Heipel
Click Consult

“I am shocked by the result of the UK referendum. Having grown up in Western Germany, I could experience the steps of the European unification first-hand. Over centuries, Europe spent most of the time in conflicts, culminating in the horrors of the 20th century.

The EU was forged by emotional people that wanted to overcome this. You can say Europe was built on emotion. As an event planner, you feel part of an international community. We event profs have a lot in common, no matter if you’re from Asia, UK, Germany, Spain, USA. We think alike. Seeing Europe drift apart makes my heart bleed.

The process of European unification and the resulting peace in Europe is one of the biggest achievements of our time. The freedom to work wherever you like, freedom to travel without restrictions fuels the entire economy, but in particular the MICE sector.

I can only hope that this will not result in more "independence" movements, because nationalism makes me sick. Sad day for Europe…”