The OIA sought support from parliamentarians for its upcoming Britain on Foot campaign

The OIA sought support from parliamentarians for its upcoming Britain on Foot campaign

Leaders of some of Britain’s outdoor businesses met parliamentarians at Westminster to push for support for the industry.

The Outdoor Industries Association held its chief executives’ and directors’ forum at the Houses of Parliament and met members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mountaineering.

Co-chairman of the parliamentary group MP David Rutley delivered a speech and other contributors included Dave Turnbull, chief executive of the British Mountaineering Council, Ian Harris from the English Outdoor Council, Louise Stewart, director of partnerships and performance at Visit England, Kurt Janson, policy director for the Tourism Alliance, and Mark Held, secretary general for the European Outdoor Group.

The meeting was organised by OIA chief executive Andrew Denton and was attended by more than 30 outdoor business leaders.

Mr Denton said: “The forum at Westminster was an incredibly useful event and I believe it represented a landmark moment for the UK’s outdoor industry.

“By bringing all of those senior figures together in Parliament, we were able to demonstrate to both ourselves and to the Government, that the sector is united in its desire to put the outdoors at the heart of the national political agenda.

“The role of the Outdoor Industries Association is crucial; we are co-ordinating a united approach that can have a profound and long term impact on our sector and on society in general.”

The OIA agreed to work with partners, and with the advice and support of David Rutley, to secure funding in order to launch its planned Britain on Foot campaign to the public in March 2013.

Mr Denton added: “This is just the start of a long trek for the UK outdoor sector, but it’s a very positive first step.

“The forum was abuzz with ideas and passion. We now need to translate that into action and achievement.

Andrew Denton: 'start of a long trek'

Andrew Denton: 'start of a long trek'

“On the back of the success of our latest event, I’m delighted to confirm that health minister Anne Milton MP has agreed to meet me to discuss the role that the outdoors can play in improving the health of our nation.

“We have a huge amount to do to realise our aims and ensure that Britain on Foot is a high impact campaign, but if the Westminster forum is any indication of what is possible, then I know that we will succeed.”

The Outdoor Industries Association has also forged cross-Channel links with its sister organisation in France.

The association has signed an agreement to cooperate with Outdoor Sports Valley, a French trade body.

Member brands will be able to take advantage of pooled services and initiatives, as well as the expertise each organisation has of its respective national market. The OIA said this relationship is designed to boost the long-term success of the outdoor industry in both countries.

The OIA and OSV have also taken the collaboration a step further by becoming associate members of each other’s respective association.

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