UK meeting industry generates 3x more GDP

  • Published by Vedat
Research announced today by the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation, and undertaken by the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) from Leeds Metropolitan University has revealed that:

mpi•           The UK meeting industry delivers £58.4 billion to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) – making a contribution three times greater than agriculture to the country’s economy.

•           The meeting industry is the UK’s 16th largest employer with more than 515,000 individuals directly employed – double that of the telecoms industry.

•           Including indirect employment, the meeting industry generates more than 1 million full-time equivalent jobs.

•           Meetings made a direct gross value added (GVA) contribution of £20.6 billion – more than legal services, accountancy or broadcasting.

•           The meeting industry contributed £21.1 billion in taxes to the economy.

•           When combined, the space occupied by the 10,000 venues in the UK is the equivalent of 6,000 football pitches and capable of seating 13.5% of the population at any one time.

The groundbreaking UK Economic Impact Study (UKEIS) was revealed today at The Meetings Show UK. Directed by Dr. ShiNa Li, the ICRETH research team used the UN World Tourism Organisation methodology for the study.

This methodology is a globally accepted model that has already been utilised to conduct the same research in Canada, the United States, Australia, Mexico and Denmark. A direct comparison shows that as a percentage of GDP, the meeting industry has a more significant economic impact in the UK than in the US, Canada and Mexico.

ICRETH, project director, Dr ShiNa Li commented, “The research was undertaken to firmly establish the size and impact of meetings in the UK, with a particular focus on GVA, GDP, employment and taxes. It is considered by many to be the most important research ever undertaken by the meeting industry as it will allow the sector to shape policy and lobby at the highest levels moving forward. The results signify a call to action for the industry and present the opportunity to consider the question ‘What now?’ We have created this incredibly powerful data that clearly defines the meeting industry’s credibility, but it needs to be used effectively as a tool for the benefit of all.”

MPI president and chief executive officer, Paul Van Deventer said, “The UKEIS results are extremely positive and clearly demonstrate that the meeting industry delivers significant value to the UK economy. At Meeting Professionals International (MPI), we believe this research provides an invaluable tool for professionals in our industry to use to enhance the perception of the meeting industry in the UK – similar to how comparable studies have been utilized in the U.S. and other countries. The success of this research provides a benchmark and example for other meeting professionals around the world to discover the value of the industry in their own country.”

Industry veteran Paul Kennedy MBE, director and owner of Kennedy Integrated Solutions added, “Many people have been instrumental in bringing about this research – from the pioneering organisations (ICCA, MPI Foundation and Reed Travel Exhibitions) that worked for several years with the UNWTO to create a credible framework for this study, to the current investors, researchers and partners. The results are incredibly positive, showing the meeting industry for what it is – bigger than agriculture, employing more than telecoms, having a greater contribution than legal or accounting. These are all significant industries with loud voices that have the ears of government and business leaders. It is time to take our place amongst them and as an industry determine a coherent and attainable call to action.”

The full research report is available via the MPI website at

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