DCMS launches new £250,000 competition for conference venues

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has today announced the launch of a £250,000 competition to improve broadband connectivity for event venues that have conference facilities.

The competition is part of the UK Government’s Tourism Sector Deal and allows conference centres across the UK to apply for funding to improve broadband infrastructure. It is open for six weeks and will end at 23:59 on Friday 27th September 2019.

The aim of the competition is to host more international conferences at UK venues and is open to all venues with conference facilities, including hotels and event centres, that will bid for events that attract international delegates.

Tourism Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “We want the UK to attract the biggest and best international business events to help grow our economy and encourage trade and investment. Ensuring our conference facilities can deliver the connectivity and facilities organisers want and need is crucial to help achieve this and there is a great deal of scope to expand this area.

“Our Tourism Sector Deal is providing a broadband boost to the country’s business events industry, and I would encourage all eligible venues to apply.” 

In 2017, the UK hosted 592 international association meetings with business visitors making up almost a quarter of the 38 million visits to the UK in 2018 and providing a boost to visitor numbers during the off-peak season. The sector is currently worth £32.6 billion to the UK economy with delegates spending £4.5 billion and more than half returning as leisure visitors. 

This investment, part of the UK Government’s Tourism Sector Deal, will help to attract more business visits and events by making destinations across the UK more attractive to international event organisers. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Building Digital UK scheme has already boosted the broadband capacity at more than 60 hotels through the Gigabit voucher scheme. 

Michael Hirst, chair of the Events Industry Board said: “The business event industry welcomes the UK government’s new £250,000 competition to improve broadband connectivity in event venues. This is a strong recognition of the importance of helping to support the growth of first-class infrastructure in Britain’s large range of diverse world-class business event facilities. It will help immensely in continuing to present Britain as a leading global destination for business events.”

To be eligible, venues must have a capacity for more than 400 delegates, have hosted at least one international event in the last year where a third of attendees were from outside the UK, or be able to demonstrate plans to do so in the next year.

The funding is part of the UK Government’s Tourism Sector Deal which sets out how we will work with the sector to grow the country’s tourism industry and to ensure we have the infrastructure to cope with the predicted growth in international business and leisure visitors. 

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com