A staggering 96% of business events - conferences, awards, exhibitions and road shows - scheduled for 2020 have now been cancelled.
Sadly, this statistic from the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has confirmed what we in the sector had suspected. That means our industry will lose $35.7 billion nationally over the next 12 months. Furthermore, BECA has estimated 92,000 events jobs have gone down the gurgler in Australia.
However, there is a way forward. Glimmers of hope. Keep reading...
This current situation affects not just companies like mine, which organises awards and conferences, but also an army of suppliers - venues, AV, PR firms, catering, entertainers, MCs, security, cleaners, exhibition builders, and hospitality staff, to mention a few.
And while I'm sure we're all very thankful for the JobKeeper supplements, many events businesses will not trade out of this crisis with no cash-flow AND NO FUTURE WORK.
Getting the business events sector back on its feet will be challenging too. Not impossible, but challenging. That's because business events are expensive to hold, and each one takes months and months (up to two years for an inaugural or international event) to plan and market.
So until we know for sure that COVID-19 is not going to smack us in the face again, then:
1. Our clients will not be planning events, so work will remain elusive
2. Event companies that also fund their own events will not be in a position to plan for, or announce, future projects without additional support.
This affects every economy. For instance, last year Queensland had 6.13 million domestic overnight visitors that attended a business event, and these travellers were the highest yield visitors.
THERE IS A SOLUTION
Imagine what can be achieved when business tourism businesses, local government and tourism organisations collectively identify those domestic business events that will have the most positive impact for our industry, economies and communities. We can then work together to support those events to bring them to fruition as a post-COVID priority.
Our pledge to regional Australia: Contact us if you'd like Awards Absolute to help you identify business events that would be best suited for your destination's 2021 tourism recovery. It would be our pleasure - gratitude and a way to give back to an industry that has been good to us for a quarter of a century.