The cancellation of two Southampton boat shows in September, on the eve of both events, is having a knock-on effect across the wider events industry, it is claimed.
Both the Boats2020 event and the MDL Ocean Village Boat Show were called off by Southampton City Council, hours before they were due to open their doors, due to fears over the spread of Covid-19. Read our original story here.
Steve Heap, Chairman of the Events Industry Forum, said: “The ramifications of the decision by Southampton City Council are being felt the length and breadth of the UK.
“Given the apparent inconsistency nationally and this council’s lack of rationale locally, the wider UK events industry is justifiably nervous about committing to future events, however well they meet the guidelines in place.
“This is untenable. Without clarity of what can and can’t happen, the events industry will simply implode. Councils have to understand there must be a balance between public safety and events taking place locally that support both the economy and jobs.”
Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, said her team had been busy supporting the 84 exhibitors in maximising trade since the cancellation and also looking at “any legal outcomes which might arise as a result of the decision by Southampton City Council”.
“We were advised to take our appeal directly to the Secretaries of State, but our appeal was not upheld,” she said. “However, as our event had met all the COVID-19 safe event requirements, the decision to cancel the show at such short notice is proving not just an issue for British Marine, but the entire UK events industry and our plight has now been picked up by the Events Industry Forum.”
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