IBTM’s annual IBTM Trends Watch report has predicted a bright year ahead for the global meetings and events industry – but has sounded a note of caution for the UK market.

The optimism in the report is thanks to a renewed resilience and confidence driven by the past few years of economic and geopolitical instability. While recognising that there are still uncertain times ahead, the report points to an industry that is focused on getting on with business. The report was compiled by Dr Rob Davidson, MD of Mice Knowledge, and Alistair Turner, MD of EIGHT PR & Marketing and unveiled at IBTM World in Barcelona.

Davidson said: “There’s no getting away from the fact that there is still a period of uncertainty ahead, with several evolving and new economic and geopolitical developments continuing to play out across the globe. However, our industry is approaching this proactively, continuing to ‘take care of business’ both literally and figuratively, which points to a very positive year ahead.”

While stating that the UK meetings and events market looks positive for 2018, the report also issued a warning.

The report said: “It’s worth noting that there are increasing examples of anecdotal evidence that may well undermine this confidence over the next 12 months, but for now the UK region looks resilient.

“There is no evidence of a wider effect on the market in the wake of Brexit, although it’s worth noting a lack of certainty across this issue.”

Elsewhere in the report the numbers continue to look positive for the association market, while it also found that there would be opportunities in the coming year for the industry within the construction and automotive sectors, as businesses in those sectors find themselves having more need to hold large scale meetings.

The main headline for the incentive travel market is growth, but the report adds that there is still a need to manage cost. It also claims that the incentive travel market can be characterised by three main trends: the growing confidence of business towards incentive travel; the ability of business to cope with instability; and the rise in the importance of destination appeal.

Alistair Turner said: “It’s essential that business events professionals continue to discuss and debate the possible impacts of different scenarios in order that they can adapt and react in a considered manner.

“As we head into 2018 the hesitancy of previous years has been replaced by renewed confidence, manifesting itself as a more responsible and positive industry that increasingly operates without borders.”

Kerry Prince, portfolio director at IBTM, said: “Given that we’re in a period of change and uncertainty, this year more than ever our IBTM Trends Watch report is a useful tool for meetings and events professionals looking for a concise evaluation of the global events market and forecasting for 2018.”

To read the IBTM Trends Watch report in full, click here.

About IBTM:

ibtm events are where meetings, events and incentives industry decision makers meet for global business adventures. Tailored for the markets they serve and guaranteeing the attendance of top level decision makers, the exhibitions provide a time and business efficient matching service for buyers and sellers through the unique Hosted Buyer Programs. In addition, each event has a full program of networking events as well as high-level education.