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Article published 10/11/2022

Scotland’s Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG) met on Tuesday 8 November to discuss a number of areas including Scotland’s National Events Strategy review and update, the current operating environment for events, feedback from Operation Unicorn and the future role, format and priorities for the Group.

National Events Strategy review and update

The group were provided with an update on plans for Scotland’s National Events Strategy review, including proposed Terms of Reference and plans for working groups.

Future role of the EIAG

Peter Duthie, EIAG Chair, discussed the future role and priorities of the group. The EIAG was established in June 2020 in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need for a coordinated stakeholder group to provide representation for the event sector in the national response and recovery planning effort. It has subsequently provided a vital forum for consultation and discussion, directly informing Government policy and the wider response to the pandemic. Engagement and input from members, Scottish Government officials and Ministers has been excellent throughout. Peter thanked everyone who has been involved in the group to date for their commitment and contribution.

Looking at the future of EIAG, it was noted that the industry continues to face significant operational challenges that threaten to undermine the sector’s opportunity for recovery. It is therefore proposed the term and remit of EIAG be extended and refreshed. Draft updated Terms of Reference were circulated prior to the meeting and met with members approval. EIAG will next meet in the New Year. It will continue to advocate for the power of the event sector to generate significant positive social, cultural and economic impacts for Scotland, with a focus on identifying key industry challenges to recovery, helping to inform and shape Government policy and the wider sector response. 

Current operating environment and Operation Unicorn

The Group provided feedback and observations on Operation Unicorn. Overall, it was agreed that it was extremely well handled and saw the best of Scotland and Scotland’s events industry. Learnings and comments, including stronger communication from government on the expectation on events during the period of national mourning, have and are being fed back into ongoing debriefings taking place. 

The EIAG then moved on to discuss the current operating environment and challenges currently facing the industry. Among them are pressure on budgets, public and private funding, staffing and skill sets, attracting international artists against weak pound, impact of new short-term legislation and visas for artists.

Next meeting

A date for the next EIAG has not been set while work is done to re-establish the group under the new Terms of Reference.

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