Chair of APPG for Events to advocate for Northern Ireland business event sector

Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events, Meets VisitBelfast to Discuss New Business Events Strategy

Theresa Villiers, Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events, visited Belfast, 30 June, to engage with the VisitBelfast team and discuss their new Business Events Strategy. The meeting served as an opportunity to explore the potential benefits and economic impact that a robust business events sector could bring to Northern Ireland.

During the meeting, Villiers expressed her admiration for VisitBelfast’s ambitious and forward-thinking approach towards attracting high-value business events to Northern Ireland. She commended the team on their comprehensive strategy, designed to position Belfast as a premier destination for conferences and business meetings, already renowned for its warm hospitality and ability to draw visitors from across the globe.

Villiers recognised the significant role that a thriving business events sector can play in bolstering the Northern Ireland economy. By attracting international events and fostering connections with industry leaders, such an industry has the potential to drive growth, stimulate job creation, and enhance the region’s reputation as a vibrant hub for business activity. She emphasized the need for strategic support from Westminster to fully leverage this opportunity for Northern Ireland’s economic development.

“It was great to meet up with Visit Belfast. I was really impressed with the ambitious strategy they have developed to bring high-value business events to Northern Ireland. Belfast is a great place for conferences and business meetings and already welcomes visitors from all around the world,” said Villiers during the meeting.

Reflecting on her role as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events, Villiers affirmed her commitment to advocating for a thriving events sector in Northern Ireland. She pledged to engage with Ministers in Westminster, highlighting the importance of endorsing and supporting the growth of the business events industry in the region. By fostering partnerships between government bodies, industry stakeholders, and VisitBelfast, Villiers aims to facilitate the realisation of the strategic vision, which holds enormous potential for Northern Ireland’s economic prosperity.

“If these latest plans are taken forward, they could provide a great boost to the Northern Ireland economy. As chair of the APPG, I will be talking to Ministers in Westminster about the importance of backing a thriving events sector in Northern Ireland,” she added.          

Rachael McGuickin, Director of Business Development, Sustainability and Transformation at VisitBelfast, said: “Business events are not only important to our thriving tourism and hospitality sector, but they make significant contributions to the knowledge economy supporting economic development, innovation and skills policy areas.

“VisitBelfast’s strategic partnerships with Invest NI, Tourism NI, our universities, and ambassador network of over 1300 business and academic leaders, is an exemplar model of what can be achieved by taking a strategic and collaborative approach. 

“We would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to Theresa Villiers MP for her continued invaluable support as the chair of APPG of Events and look forward to working with her to showcase the value of our industry.”

The meeting between Theresa Villiers and the VisitBelfast team marks a significant step forward in the pursuit of a flourishing business events sector in Northern Ireland. The collaboration between VisitBelfast and influential advocates such as Villiers lays a solid foundation for driving economic growth, attracting global attention, and positioning the region as an attractive destination for high-value business events.

The visit was arranged by Davies Tanner, who manage the APPG for Events and act as its official secretariat and special advisors.

Pictured L to R: Gerry Lennon, CEO, VisitBelfast; Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP, Chair of the APPG for Events; Rachael McGuickin, Director of Business Development, Sustainability and Transformation, VisitBelfast

About the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events

Founded in 2011, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events (APPG) is a cross party group made up of members from both Houses of Parliament, and acts as the event industry’s voice in Westminster. The APPG for Events provides a forum for the highly diverse and valuable UK events industry in Parliament, engaging with representatives from across the political spectrum.

The APPG plays a key role in keeping the events industry high on the Parliamentary agenda. Its formal purpose is:

  • To represent the UK events industry in Parliament
  • To highlight the value of the industry to the UK economy and society;
  • To engage with politicians and industry representatives
  • To ensure that the UK remains a competitive and leading destination for major international events

Brand Communications Agency, davies tanner, manage the APPG and act as the official secretariat, as well as providing advice and counsel to the Chair and Officers. They can be contacted at

For news and updates please follow @APPGEvents on Twitter.

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