AEO - Association of event organisers

UK Events Industry an Export Success Story


UK Events Industry an Export Success Story

08 Nov 2018

UK Events Industry an Export Success Story

AEO Global Events Study results demonstrate a 36% increase in Overseas Turnover

The Association of Event Organisers has launched its annual Global Events Study, sponsored by GES, which tracks international market trends of UK organisers.

The results for the 2017/18 period show a staggering like-for-like increase in overseas turnover of 36% with £2.1bn generated by those UK businesses that took part in the research project. According to the latest ONS figures*, this places the UK events industry in the top ten UK service exports.

Stephen Brooks, Chair of the AEO International Working Group that commissioned the study, says: “The AEO’s Global Event Study provides a definitive profile of the extent to which UK-based organisers are instrumental in running shows throughout the world. The number of international events, the quality of those events and the number of countries in which they take place is exceptional.”

The number of events that are organised outside the UK by participating AEO members has increased to 1,224 from 1,057 since the first study was released in 2012.  This compares favourably to the number of events that are organised in the UK (1,035) as reported in the recent SASiE survey.

Chris Skeith, Chief Executive of AEO, says: “The Global Events Study shows that more organisers of traditional trade or consumer fairs have held a greater number of conferences, conventions and academic or scientific events during the past year with growth in numbers showing in North America, Western Europe and the Far East. This indicates that, having invested resource in new markets, international organiser members are now benefiting from this by developing different types of events in regions they already have experience of operating in.”

AEO members who operate globally are most active in Western Europe, North America and South East Asia and see the greatest growth opportunities in Western Europe and the Far East despite both of these markets, plus Africa, also being rated as the most challenging markets to organise events in. The positive news is that two thirds of participants are planning further launches outside of the UK in the next two years, in addition to two UK-only organisers who are planning to venture into overseas markets for the first time.

Jason Popp, Executive Vice President International, GES says: “Recent studies indicate that marketing budgets are expected to grow over the next 12 months** and if the majority of that growth is going into experiential live events and digital, this is bound to be of benefit to the exhibitions industry. It certainly indicates a robust demand for face-to-face marketing.”

Chris concludes: “I’m delighted the UK events industry is such a major contributor to export revenues. Due to the different types of events and range of sectors and markets in which to launch new ventures, the events industry has traditionally shown strong resilience and growth and it is fantastic news that this looks set to continue for AEO members.”

To find out further information about the AEO please visit the website and follow us on Twitter @aeonews


* Source: The Office of National Statistics, UK International trade in services (excluding travel, transport and banking) exports by industry, 2016

** Source: The Dentsu Aegis Network CMO Survey 2018

  • "Broadway Events joined the AEO on the Enterprise Membership. We’ve already taken advantage of the many benefits including the excellent FaceTime Masterclasses and training guides for exhibitors."
    Emma Barrett
    Broadway Events
  • "We are a member of the AEO because it is a proactive association for the events industry. As an organiser it provides us with high value ideas, networking, guidance and information."
    David Harrison
    PPMA Group
  • "This year, the association has led working groups to address industry issues and put on some amazing events full of insightful content for both organisers and, through the AEOs FaceTime initiative, exhibitors. In addition, the AEO has represented the industry at a Governmental level to raise awareness of the importance of events to the UK economy."
    Paul Byrom
    Upper Street Events
  • "I genuinely believe that if you’re involved in organising events you should become a member of the AEO."
    Simon Kimble
    Clarion Events
  • "Our membership of the AEO represents real and tangible value for UBM - it provides fantastic networking opportunities, practical training for our team as well as valuable insight into the state of our industry."
    Simon Parker
    Informa Markets
  • "As an Association business, we appreciate the excellent work the secretariat of the AEO do for our community. From the events side of our business, the AEO provides an excellent return on investment, providing thought leadership, fantastic networking, brilliant awards, excellent research and FaceTime, a valuable tool to tell our markets why exhibitions and events should be an essential part of the marketing mix."
    Neil Felton
  • "AEO’s networking and member meetings are valuable for individuals at all levels within our organisation. The promotion of our sector to the outside world, to government, authorities and business at large is another vital aspect of the AEO’s purpose for members, many of whom, like my company, work on events throughout the world."
    Stephen Brooks
    Mack Brooks Exhibitions
  • “Knowledge is power and the AEO dinners are certainly powerful, there is always a wealth of knowledge at the table. Insightful presentations make for a constructive and extremely social way to learn from the experts who’ve done it before. I attended the Japanese evening and gained really valuable insight about the culture and how best to communicate with a local audience.”
    John Whitaker
    Vice President Marketing, Data & Digital , dmg events
  • "We have the opportunity to contribute positively to the industry as well as gaining valuable insight and advice. There’s no need to spend valuable time and money reinventing the wheel when you have so many experienced professionals in AEO membership to learn from”
    Emma Cartmell
    CHS Group
  • "JOINING THE AEO HAS BEEN FANTASTIC! Being able to gift our customers with free places at the FaceTime masterclasses, learn alongside industry peers and seek advice to common challenges is invaluable”
    Sharon Azam
    GovNet Communications
  • I just wanted to send my most sincere thanks for everything that you and the AEO team are doing to help navigate the events industry through the pandemic. The working groups and communication from the AEO have been excellent and I’m really appreciative of being part of such a wonderful organisation.
    Simon Burns
    ICHF Events
  • I think what the AEO has been doing during this tough time has been exceptional.
    Greg Cherry
    QD Events LTD
  • It is so useful to hear from your peers at this time. Please pass my thanks to Ruth and the BTIG panel
    Dan Assor
    CloserStill Media
  • Just wanted to thank you and Ruth this morning for the Zoom meeting - it was really interesting to hear how things are moving along in the virtual/hybrid meeting/exhibitions. All very new to me, so a lot to digest.
    Maureen Wright
    Optic UK
  • The session this morning was fantastic. We are right in the midst of this and the information was so useful. We can apply it immediately
    Claire Adams
  • The AEO provides an opportunity to make a difference, to work with other companies for the good of the industry as a whole, but beyond that, it provides it’s members with valuable insight and tangible benefits to grow your business, upskill and engage your teams. For those reasons, our membership is in indelible ink on the each annual budget. In short, if you aren’t a member, you are missing out.
    Ed Tranter
    73 Media




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