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23 May 2024

Events industry joins UK government trade mission to Saudi Arabia

Events industry joins UK government trade mission to Saudi Arabia

The Events Industry Alliance (EIA) formed part of the 450-strong delegation of UK businesses attending the ‘Great Futures’ trade mission to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in May. 

The trade mission, led by deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden in partnership with the Saudi government, kicked off a year-long campaign to drive business engagement between the UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). 

Chris Skeith OBE, EIA director, AEO CEO and chair of UK Events represented the UK’s exhibitions sector along with colleagues from the organiser community, at Great Futures which took place from 14-15 May and promoted British expertise and capability in multiple sectors that support Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’. 

The two days were spent meeting with Saudi business and government counterparts at an exposition, featuring 800 delegates, exhibitors, 130 speakers and 30 sessions across four theatres.

“It was a great example of a trade show staged specifically to drive trade between our two countries,” Skeith said. “We emphasised the UK’s expertise in staging trade shows like this, every day of every month throughout the year, along with the benefits of aligning government objectives with our industry’s ability to enact trade, information and knowledge-sharing through business events and exhibitions.”

Vision 2030 is the Saudi government’s strategy to diversify its economy, boost productivity, and strengthen competitiveness while showcasing the KSA’s progressive ambitions, commitments and business dynamism. Five key ‘giga projects’, will attract $3 trillion in investment by 2030 to build the industries of the future

Minister of Commerce for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Majid bin Abdullah Al Kassabi told the delegation: “This event heralds the beginning of an extended and productive partnership focused on innovation, technology and our flourishing cultural sectors. We look forward to collaborating with the UK Government and the private sector to realise the ambitions of Vision 2030.”

Skeith explained: “The EIA’s primary objective is to gain recognition for the UK exhibitions industry along with our policy asks, which seek to incentivise growth, bolster advocacy and support, and remove trade friction. If we can help create Saudi marketplaces for UK organisers or help build new venues, grow shows or encourage inbound business from Saudi exhibitors, it will hugely benefit all parties.”

(source Mike Fletcher, EN)

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  • The events industry is only as good as the sum of its parts – the EIA represents all parts of our amazing industry. We are members because together we are so much stronger and are therefore so much better placed to deal with both our challenges and the massive opportunities that lie ahead.
    Simon Parker
  • The EIA serves as the quintessential industry forum and working group representing the cornerstones critical to all events; the organiser, the venue and the supply chain providing goods and services to the sector. Whilst it’s always been a valuable alliance for the industry, in these times of post-pandemic economic uncertainty and geo-political challenges, the ability for the industry to convene, confer and communicate as a unified sector is imperative as we seek to grow and have an even greater impact on the UK’s social and economic landscape.
    Shaun Hinds
    Manchester Central
  • The EIA is a great forum for collaboration between three of the major UK business events associations. It’s so important as an industry that we speak with one voice, that we collaborate on the biggest issues that we face and that we build mutual understanding and respect. The EIA provides the opportunity to do all of these things and is a made more powerful by all of our contributions.
    Carina Bauer