James Heappey MP to open The Meetings Show

James Heappey MP will open The Meetings Show– an event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry – when it returns for its sixth edition next week.  

Heappey, who is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the UK Events Industry, will officially open The Meetings Show on Wednesday, 27 June at Olympia London.

During his visit that will see him meet and network with buyers and suppliers, the MP for Wellswill also take part in a closed roundtable discussion entitled 'A winning welcome: securing business for Britain'. 

The debate will examine the current position of the UK as a meeting destination and offer a unique opportunity for some of the sector’s leading minds to connect, question and develop a unified strategy while establishing an industry voice to government. 

Those taking part in the debate, which will be chaired by Paul Kennedy MBE, includes industry stalwarts: 

  • Kerrin MacPhie, head of business events at VisitBritain
  • Paul Szomoru, head of business events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau and destination chair of the Meetings Industry Association
  • Neil Brownlee, head of business events, Visit Scotland
  • Heledd Williams, head of business events at Visit Wales 
  • Jill Manley, business development director at ICC Wales and The Celtic Manor Resort 
  • Katie Ramsay, area director of sales and distribution for the UK and Ireland at Marriott International Hotels
  • Mark Taylor, chief executive of QEII Centre and board member of London & Partners and the Meetings Industry Association 
  • Frode Aasheim, managing director of Norway Convention Bureau
  • Juliette Price, executive director of the HBAA 
  • Leigh Cowlishaw, director of partnerships at Capita 
  • John Kelly, senior marketing manager – EMEA of BCD M&E and Fast Forward 15 mentor
  • Ross Barker, commercial director – meetings portfolio, Centaur

Participants in the discussion will be looking to answer questions such as 'what are Britain's strengths?' and look at the challenges the meetings industry faces, while also asking if the government is doing enough to support it. 

The roundtable discussion forms part of a packed education programme featuring 50 hours of free content across the two days on Wednesday, 27 June and Thursday, 28 June and aimsto enlighten delegates as well as encourage best practice. 

James Heappey MP said: "I am thrilled to be involved in The Meetings Show, which is an important date in the industry's calendar and one which inspires, connects and informs. I'm particularly looking forward to taking part in the roundtable and hearing the opinions and expertise of some of the brightest minds in the sector as we tackle the issues to ensure the industry continues to drive business at home and internationally in the future.”