Venues most concerned with government attitudes towards business events: AIPC study

GOVERNMENT attitudes toward business events have emerged as a major concern among convention and exhibition centres that participated in a recent survey conducted by AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres.

The annual survey, carried out between April and June this year, also found respondents paying particular attention to intensifying international competition.

AIPC president, Geoff Donaghy, said: “Growing competition among centres worldwide has been an issue for some years, but this spike in concern about government attitudes toward business events is a disturbing new development.

“At a time when economic growth and stabilisation is a big priority among governments all over the world, we have hoped that they (governments) would have made the connection (business events have) with business and professional interactions, but our member experiences are suggesting otherwise. This shows we need to work even harder on making sure our value proposition is better understood and appreciated by policy makers.”

Respondents also projected a slower growth of one per cent in revenue this year – as compared to a six to seven per cent growth over the past few years – against a backdrop of ongoing stagnation in economic recovery, with European venues expected to lag behind peers from other parts of the world.

Corporate events are also found to drive growth while conventions and exhibitions remain stagnant.

As such, many centres are pursuing alternative revenue streams including event creation, sponsorship, advertising, enhanced services and risk-sharing with clients.

Other challenges identified by the survey include greater facility investments required at a time of modest revenue growth by rapid changes in event formats, technology and connectivity demands, as well as limitations in hotel and airline capacity and pricing.

“This tells us that there is no instant business upswing in the cards for centres in the near future”, said Donaghy.

“As in many other sectors in today’s economy, success in ours will have to be based on innovation, flexibility and an ability to be competitive in a highly contested market”.

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