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Exhibition Industry Associations Join Forces in Continuous Effort to Stop the Demolition of Earls Court

BERKHAMSTED, England, January 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

In an on-going effort to prevent the proposed demolition of Earls Court Exhibition Centre, the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) and UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, have sent letters to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Rt Hon. Vince Cable.

     (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130118/588955 )

In their letters to Mr Cable, the associations draw attention to the detrimental impact that the closure of Earls Court Exhibition Centre will have not only on the exhibitions and events industry, but also on the wider community.

The associations are asking for Mr Cable's support of their demand that the planning applications relating to the Earls Court Opportunity Area be called in so that the Government can judge all the evidence through a fully transparent public inquiry.

The Exhibition Centre brings 2.5 million visitors and 300,000 exhibitors to West London every year, generating over £1 billion in revenue.

Despite the UK exhibitions and events industry generating an annual expenditure of £11billion every year and a Gross Value Added (GVA) of £5.6 billion, the sector is constrained by a lack of sustainable exhibition space.  The UK has just 5 per cent of European exhibition space (compared to 22 per cent in Germany, 14 per cent in France and 10 per cent in Spain), whilst London's largest venue ExCeL is only the 36th biggest in the world.  By contrast, Paris alone has two venues in the top ten.

Paul Woodward, Managing Director, UFI, commented: "Demolishing Earls Court could set a potential UK growth industry further behind key international competitors.  Furthermore there is no evidence that London needs less exhibition space. In fact, the UK competitors are currently expanding their own capacity precisely because they understand the economic benefits the centres and the events that they host create."

Karim Halwagi, Chief Executive Officer, AEO, stated "The effect of the potential loss of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, possibly the UK's best known venue on an international basis, would be enormous, not only for the UK exhibitions and events industry, but it would also have a huge impact on attracting foreign companies to exhibit and even stage their own events in London. The irony is that UK Trade & Industry (UKTI) deeply wish to attract foreign event organisers to the UK but we already have a shortage of venue stock - you must remember, there are only 52 weeks in a year and one or two venues cannot host the enormous range of large consumer and trade events that are currently held in the UK annually, let alone additional events from abroad."

About Association of Event Organisers (AEO)
Association of Event Organisers (AEO) is the trade body representing companies, which conceive, create, develop or manage trade and consumer events. It is run by its members for the benefit of its members through an elected council of representatives, specialist working groups and a fulltime secretariat.  

Our aim is to be the voice of the event organising industry, to serve the collective needs of event organisers and to promote the interests of our members and the industry at large.  AEO membership enables organisers to work with members of its sister organisations, Association of Event Venues (AEV) and Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA).  

For more information please visit http://www.aeo.org.uk.

About UFI
UFI is the association of the world's leading tradeshow organisers and exhibition centre operators, as well as the major national and international exhibition associations, and selected partners of the exhibition industry.

UFI's main goal is to represent, promote and support the business interests of its members and the exhibition industry.  UFI represents over 600 member organisations in 85 countries around the world. Almost 900 international trade fairs proudly bear the UFI approved label, a quality guarantee for visitors and exhibitors alike.  UFI members continue to provide the international business community with a unique marketing media aimed at developing outstanding face-to-face business opportunities.  

For more information please visit http://www.ufi.org.

For further information and a copy of the letters, please contact:
Paula Ripoll, Marketing Communications Manager, email: paula@aeo.org.uk
Sadie Rowntree, Executive Assistant, email: sadie@aeo.org.uk
Association of Event Organisers (AEO)
119 High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 2DJ                
Tel: +44(0)1442-285810    


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