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    Meetings Industry Association reports ‘outstanding year’

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    The Meetings Industry Association (mia) has had an “outstanding year” providing “real value to members”, despite the most challenging environment the sector has ever faced.

    Proudly recalling the successes of the year, which have seen the mia retain 91.54% of its members, Chair Steve Jones said at the association’s AGM: “I believe the membership levels have held up well because of the proactive stance taken by the Board and the Chief Executive in working with Government departments and, in partnership with other voices from across the sector, ensuring our concerns are voiced as a route to ultimately reopening the sector.”

    Outlining the extensive lobbying work that has been undertaken on behalf of the industry, which has also seen the mia publish a comprehensive suite of business support tools that have been signposted by government, he said: “I don’t think it is overstretching to say that every opportunity to lobby and influence government policy has been taken.”

    Throughout the pandemic he said the mia had “swiftly reacted” to the ever-evolving situation, providing clarity and best practice guidance alongside restructuring its nationally recognised accreditation AIM Secure to feature enhanced infection control protocols.

    Delivering his financial report, Treasurer and Vice-Chair Charles Sargeant revealed that the association has had an “outstanding year” that has created “real value for its members, despite the fact that the sector has been looking at all avenues to reduce expenditure” due to the impact of the pandemic.

    He said: “The association has maintained financial stability despite the most challenging circumstances and is in a good position to support its members on the route to recovery.”

    Looking at the year ahead, the mia’s chief executive Jane Longhurst outlined that the association’s ongoing research has clearly shown that a full return of business is not expected until 2023 which means 2021 and 2022 will be challenging.

    While the mia’s lobbying work will remain indefinitely, she said the association has launched a new powerful data intelligence tool – miaTouchstone – to help members assess and improve business winning service levels as they seek to offer safety and compliance reassurance to risk adverse customers.

    She said: “Taking the business intelligence that miaTouchstone will deliver, over time we intend to develop an annual report that will provide government with invaluable insight and statistics such as the value of the sector, the number of business meetings and conferences held, the number of direct employees across the sector alongside the economic impact on a local and national level for instance.”

    Concluding the AGM was the appointment of the mia Board for 2021/2022. Steve Jones of Wyboston Lakes remains as Chair while Charles Sargeant of Whittlebury Park retains the title of Vice-Chair and Kevin Breeze of Robinson College University of Cambridge is Company Secretary. Ivor Turner of Turnaround will be appointed as Treasurer from June 1st.

    Other Board members for 2021/22 include: Lime Venue Portfolio’s Jo Austin; NEC Group’s Allan Boyle; One Wimpole Street’s Nigel Collett; Cranfield University’s Stewart Elsmore; Accor’s Dawn Jaynes, Marketing Liverpool’s Jennifer Jensen; Green & Fortune’s John Nugent; The Jockey Club’s Christopher Ogston and the QEII Centre’s Mark Taylor.

    The mia also introduced four new Board-reporting voluntary posts to drive forward initiatives in key areas while working towards becoming a valued board director in the future. Justine Meet of Warwick Conferences was appointed as Director of Agent Relations. Over the coming weeks the association will be actively seeking applications to appoint a Director of Sustainability, a Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as well as a Director of Membership Growth.

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    Lisa Carter

    All stories by: Lisa Carter