Published on: 30 September 2020
Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine
“Since the cancellation on Thursday 10 September, at 18.34, the night before BOATS2020 was due to open, British Marine has been working extremely hard across two key areas. The first and most important is to assist our members and exhibitors who had invested time and money into being at the event. BOATS2020 was set up as a direct result of demand from British Marine members, evidenced by the 84 exhibitors who signed up to attend, despite knowing that there could be last minute changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governmental regulations. This happened, and since that moment British Marine has been supporting BOATS2020 exhibitors through publicising their open days, viewing appointments, competitions, online offers and helping creating leads for businesses to engage with prospects. We’re pleased to say that in many cases we have had positive feedback from companies who have seen increased visitors to their websites, and an upturn in online sales.
“The second stream of work has been to look 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. 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 (EIF).”
Steve Heap, Chairman of the Events Industry Forum has said; “The ramifications of the decision by Southampton City Council is 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.”
British Marine must now focus on what we do best – which is to support our members. We await any outcome from EIF with keen interest as this will help us and all other outdoor event organisers to have clarity and confidence about future events during this pandemic.
A further update will be issued when available.