Accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in the UK meetings industry
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Dashper, K. & Finkel, R. (2020) Accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in the UK meetings industry. Journal of Convention & Event Tourism (In Press).
Issues of accessibility, diversity, and inclusion are becoming increasingly important for MICE managers around the globe and need to be considered in terms of both event attendees and employees/meetings professionals. The UK MICE sector is facing an unprecedented period of disruption in relation to the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of Brexit, the impacts of which may have far-reaching consequences in terms of equality and diversity. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 13 stakeholders - meeting planners, venue managers, entrepreneurs and member organization leaders - this paper considers how issues of accessibility, diversity, and inclusion are playing out in the changing landscape of the UK meetings industry. Findings suggest that although the MICE sector is paying increasing attention to the importance of accessibility, there is evidence of persistent inequality and marginalization on the grounds of gender, age, ‘race’ and (dis)ability. We question if a focus on diversity remains a priority in economically, politically, and socially unsettled times, and what this may mean for an inclusive future for the UK meetings industry.