London event enquiries have risen sharply this summer following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
London’s convention bureau, London & Partners, said it experienced a “major increase” in enquiries for meetings and events in the capital between June and September – rising more than 40 per cent year-on-year.
This rise is reflected across all markets, with US enquiries going up 22 per cent over the period, EMEA enquiries rising up 22 per cent and domestic enquiries jumping up by 83 per cent.
A number of suppliers, including ExCeL London, Maybourne Hotel Group and InterContinental London – The O2, have also experienced an increase in enquiries and some overseas planners have been requesting to settle the cost of their events upfront due the fall in the value of the pound following the referendum results.
James Rees, Executive Director at ExCeL London, said it has been “business as usual” since Brexit but the weaker pound has seen a number of clients arranging early payments.
“Whilst we do not yet know what sort of deal the UK will secure from the EU, we have been pleased at how both the Mayor of London and the UK Government have responded to the vote and moved quickly to reinforce a message that the UK remains open for business,” said Rees.
Hasham Soliman, General Manager, InterContinental London – The O2 said: “The drop in the value of the pound has certainly helped see an increase in inbound enquires from both the Chinese and middle eastern markets and the hotel saw a strong pick up in August.”
Managing director at Spectra DMC Paul Miller said:
“The fact that London is now better value for money has definitely had an impact on Spectra’s activity this summer. Following the result of the referendum we received an unprecedented surge of new enquiries, both from outside and inside the EU, for sizeable conferences and meetings for later this year and early 2017. Thanks to the exchange rate going down, clients have also been willing to pay more substantial deposits.”
New venues opening this year in London include Switch House at the Tate Modern; the new Design Museum in Kensington; and the first Smith & Wollensky restaurant outside of the US, to open in London’s West End.
Looking ahead, the British capital will also be hosting other key major events such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference and the European Association of Urology congress in 2017 and Sibos in 2019.