The CEO of Manchester Central has announced the events sector is ‘on its comeback tour’, as new business enquiries remain strong month-on-month, peaking at their highest point in February since the sector reopened.
Shaun Hinds, who took the helm at the 10,000 capacity venue in 2017, said,
“Business events, tourism and culture are major drivers of cities, towns and villages right across the UK, and as a country we now need to come together to promote what we have to offer.
“Over the past two years, our live events sector has all but disappeared, but 2022 is fast becoming the comeback tour.
“In a normal year, the sector adds £70bn to the UK economy, and this is something that can’t be forgotten. While the pandemic may have isolated countries and all but shut off tourism, we can confidently say the UK is now back open for business and events should be at the forefront of driving our economic recovery.
“We are proof that people are ready and willing to get back together, to network, to attend gigs, to learn, and to dance together, and we are keen to hear from the DCMS on how they plan to support the sector and attract events back to Britain.”
Situated in the heart of Manchester, Manchester Central attracts over half a million visitors to the Greater Manchester region each year, bringing approximately £150m into the local economy. It recently hosted the BSAVA Congress 2022, which welcomed thousands of veterinary professionals, and brought an estimated £10m into the city’s economy over the three day event.
Hinds’ comment comes as the Government recently opened its consultation on the effectiveness of its £750m Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, which promised cover for events cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) said in a statement: “In September 2021, the government launched the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme to support live events across the country — such as music festivals, conferences and business events — that are at risk of being halted or delayed due to an inability to obtain Covid-19 cancellation insurance. Cover through the scheme is available to purchase alongside standard commercial events insurance for an additional premium.
“We committed to a review point for the scheme in spring 2022, as part of our ongoing efforts to make sure the Scheme achieves its objectives to support live events following the impacts of Covid-19.”
According to trade title, Exhibition News, DCMS and administrators of the scheme have so far been unable to provide details of a single successful payout.
Shaun Hinds continued,
“The effect that the pandemic had on all venues is stark, and while they are gradually rebuilding, there is still so much more to be done in order for the sector to feel like it’s back on solid ground.
“There are definite learnings to be had, from the sector’s response to the pandemic, to how we can better prepare for eventualities going forward, but we can’t do that in isolation. We need a concerted effort with the right support from the government to underpin the sector and help the UK regain its competitive standing.
“The impacts of the past 24 months will be felt for many years to come and we’re working alongside our industry trade bodies to ensure the UK recovers to its standing as a global leader in events.”