Attractions industry news

10 Nov 2020

Experience UK and ALES UK merge to create new trade body

Experience UK has completed a merger with ALES UK – the industry body for manufacturers and suppliers working within the visitor attractions and amusements industries.

As a result, Experience UK – which was launched more than 12 years ago to represent companies that design, create and deliver visitor destinations – will become a fully-fledged trade body, with ALES UK being subsumed into the combined organisation.

Terry Monkton, chair of the Experience UK board, said: "The merger between Experience UK and ALES UK makes a lot of sense, with a unified trade association representing the UK’s finest creative industries.

"Experience UK will be in a stronger position to ensure adequate trade show support for its members, while continuing to support them in their efforts to secure export sales."

In its new role as the sector's trade body, Experience UK has set out to conduct research into two key international markets – the Gulf and Central/Eastern Europe. The research will look into the potential opportunities the regions hold for UK-based experience companies.

It will also intensify its work with the Department for International Trade to help benefit members and ensure that they receive the support they need as the industry looks to rebuild and grow, as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founded in 2004 by Gerry Robinson, ALES UK was established to help smooth the path for UK businesses to exhibit at trade shows around the world. It currently represents more than 50 companies across the UK which supply products and services to visitor attractions.

Tony Whittaker from ALES UK said on the merger: “After initial meetings with DIT and further discussions with Experience UK it has been agreed by all parties that a merger between ALES UK and Experience UK is undoubtedly the way forward.

"This merger is a natural progression for both organisations, giving the ALES UK members an improved platform to showcase their incredible range of goods and services and at the same time giving Experience UK the ability to continue the provision of TAP grant funding to a larger membership base.

"I've agreed to help Experience UK over the initial 12 month period to ensure a smooth transition and would like to thank all the ALES UK membership for the fantastic support over the period I was in charge.”

Experience UK was initially a joint venture with the Department for International Trade’s Experience Economy Team, along with conference organisers, Andrich International. It was established to help UK companies deliver businesses, and understand the scale and scope of opportunities, in key markets around the world.

One of the original Experience UK founders, Richard Curtis, was recently awarded an MBE for his work in international trade.

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