Today, June 24th 2016, the people of the United Kingdom received the long anticipated news that with 52% of the vote, we would be leaving the European Union.
So what does this mean for the event and technology industries?
Since the announcement of the final polling results this morning, the value of the British Pound has fallen to it’s lowest since 1985, meaning that event and technology companies will be effected when trading beyond UK borders.
Richard John, a well known events guru states that with 40% drop in share prices for some banks it “is going to hit meetings and events hard, and quite quickly. And a currency fall like that is going to have massive ramifications for anyone budgeting for overseas event, along with a swift rise in UK inflation that will probably mean an interest rate rise.”
The economic uncertainty and expected sharp losses in stock markets around the world could lead to a reduction in business travel. And less travel would mean fewer attendees. Companies with large events involving participants flying in from around the world may reconsider and wait until the dust settles. Start-ups and small businesses who would normally jump at the chance to gain exposure at a trade show might be thinking of ways to preserve their capital instead of carrying on with planned event scheduled.
For the United Kingdom itself, the end of easy movement between the UK and the rest of the EU will soon end, leading to uncertainty surrounding visa and passport requirements. European exhibitors will have to consider import duties on trade show materials and booths.
However, there is some positive perspective on the announcement. In a press release from the Meetings Industry Association for Meetpie, CEO Jane Longhurst insists that the events sector must embrace the UK’s decision to leave the European Union as ‘business will not just flood in’. She goes on to say that “We need to embrace the referendum result. We can’t sit back and rest on our laurels and expect consumer confidence to return and business to just flood in – particularly from outside the European Union. Instead, organisations need to re-evaluate their business plans and develop creative ways to actively encourage cross-border relations and inbound tourism from our European counterparts.”
By leaving the EU and consequently, no longer having to abide by their trade regulations, Britain may allow major technology companies to conduct their trade with the likes of China and the US which could mean an influx of further development and growth within the industry.
The change isn’t expected to happen overnight and due to certain laws, the U.K. won’t complete its breakup with the EU until around 2019, meaning that the industry still has time to adjust their current business models and assess some of their internal processes.
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