Could festivals and sport save the UK economy?


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It has been a real whirlwind of a month here in Great Britain. So much so it’s vital to stop and catch at least half a breath before rushing to any drastic decisions.
With the EU Referendum having taken place what seems like ages ago, the reality of Brexit is beginning to sink in and the turbulent financial markets giving rise to nervousness.
One of the biggest worries about all this is that our economy was already looking pretty fragile. The pound has been falling in value steadily for almost two years. Consumer spending habits haven’t been helping paint a better picture either- the 1.3% fall in March was much sharper than the 0.1% predicted, with 2.7% rise on the year still well below the forecast 4.4%.
So we’re shelling out less, and only buying marginally more than we were in 2015, despite the party line in Westminster still singing to the tune of an overall ongoing economic recovery. Perhaps it’s not quite time to panic and burn everything before making the most of your E.U. passport whilst it’s still vaid, though, as away there may be a few rays of sunshine, and a patch of blue sky or two elsewhere.
2016 is a huge year for sports on an international platform. After recently visiting Marseille during the height of Euro football fever we can confirm that, despite the behaviour of a minority, local restaurateurs and bar owners were looking at fans from our islands in a hugely favourable light because of the sheer amount of money being poured into the town (and largely down throats) by visiting Britons. Hotel bookings have unsurprisingly soared, as have flights and self catering accommodation options, making it less shocking to hear we’ve been splashing less on clothes and food- two things most would cut back on in the run up to an expensive trip.
The Rio Olympic Games are just around the corner now too, and we’re expecting a similar story to come out of Brazil, as long as health scares don’t takeover. Meanwhile, Wimbledon, the Tour de France, rugby and the Grand Prix are also major profit making opportunities, and huge money pits for consumers, both here in the U.K. and in the respective host nations of the tournaments. So not necessarily all bad news.
The story may not end there, either. The ‘festival economy’ has grown dramatically over the last decade too, with Blighty having one of the busiest calendars in the world these days. Despite the problems everyone had getting to Glastonbury thanks to the atrocious rain and thunderstorms in the week of the event, once on site people were quite literally sharing their wealth, and that’s just one bash from a season that begins in May and ends in late-September.
Or even later in the year if you take into account the comparatively new idea of flying out to sunnier climes for a party, which in turn becomes a longer holiday with time taken off work to relax and unwind pre- and post-outdoor session. The vast majority of companies running these kind of trips are based in the U.K., as are those behind the events themselves.
Whether any this can have a substantial positive impact on an economic situation currently defined by grey clouds, if not quite burning buildings yet, is another question entirely. But what it does tell us is that the runaway trend for brands to align themselves with music events, and the longstanding tradition of companies getting involved in competitive individual and team disciplines, have rarely looked like a safer options to for firms looking at maximising exposure and potential sales outside their core marketplace.