The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has released new figures revealing the Australian economy is set to lose $35.7 billion in direct expenditure over the next 12 months, as nearly all business events scheduled for 2020 (96 per cent) are cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.
The events industry has been one of the hardest hit by the impacts of the pandemic and BECA predicts the losses will continue with over 92,000 industry jobs expected to be shed by June 30.
Once COVID-19 is over, three in five businesses in the industry (59 per cent) believe it will a year or longer to recover
In response, to the findings, BECA announced that it is working with the Government to urgently implement a coordinated industry strategy. The COVID-19 Business Events Response and Recovery Framework aims to sustain the business events industry over the next 12 months and position it to rebound and grow effectively following the pandemic.
Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia, Dr. Vanessa Findlay, says, “Australia’s business events industry is not only a major direct contributor to the economy but also an important catalyst for business. It enables networks and partnerships, fosters confidence and investment, acts as a market place for buyers and sellers and supports regional dispersal and development.
“However, in just a few months COVID-19 has brought the industry to its knees. It is not just experiencing hibernation, but complete loss of revenue. The industry was first to feel the impacts when gatherings were banned following the pandemic outbreak, and it is looking increasingly likely that gatherings will be last activity that is reinstated.”
Findlay continues, “This is why, on behalf of the industry, BECA has moved quickly to develop the coordinated COVID-19 Business Events Response and Recovery Framework and is working closely with Government on its implementation. Supported by a well-developed policy aligned to Australia’s competitive strengths, the business events industry will play a critical role in the recovery and rebound of Australia’s broader economy from this pandemic.”
The Framework – which is currently being finalised in consultation with the Government and will be made public at a later date – comprises of two key phases:
- Identifies the viability of industry businesses and organisations at immediate risk with no cash-flow or forward pipelines of business events
- Aims to enable the industry to be sustained during the pandemic and to build domestic demand, industry capability and strategy for the future market
- Success is focused on reduced costs on the industry businesses, targeted support to organisations and employees to support viability, training and skills, domestic event pipeline development and Australian governments, businesses and associations incentivised to plan and book events
- Recovery (rebound and growth):
- Focuses on research, marketing, promotion and facilitation, with key components including:
- Australian Government Bid Fund Program renewal and extension
- International research, marketing and promotion
- Creation of new Trade and Investment Priority Business Events that tap into Australia’s competitive advantages in key growth industries and regional areas
- Visa simplification
- Export Market Development Grant extension and refinement of criteria
- Improved Business Events metrics that enhance the national and international visitor surveys for business events and complement by investing in robust aggregated and segmented data capability
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