July 16, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

With the impact of Sydney’s lockdown continuing to spread widely across the city and nation, business events industry peak bodies have continued to work behind the scenes for the sector.

The City of Sydney has also got behind campaigning to get better support for the industry, especially in relation to insurance for the sector in the face of event cancellations and business interruption.

With major city public and arts events like Hamilton and Vivid unable to proceed, the Council has also lent its support to the wider events industry.

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) Vice Chair and ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy spoke to micenet and said the impact on businesses small and large was understood and he encouraged people to seek out the support as announced by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week.

He said industry associations – representing all events including business events, major events and the arts were collaborating on trying to resolve the issues impeding rebuild and recovery.

He stressed discussions were continuing at all levels of government in the face of the difficulties being experienced by our sector.

This week the industry has met with Austrade and also made representations to the NSW Government and City of Sydney.

micenet understands that associations representing the whole events sector – business events, major events and the arts have also met in recent days. Together they are pursuing the fundamental need for insurance for events which currently are uninsurable, leaving business risk entirely in the hands of the industry.

Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia CEO, Claudia Sagripianti released a statement in regards to support for the industry.

“The EEAA commends the NSW and federal governments for the recent funding support announced earlier this week. However, with the current lockdown in NSW, the business events industry now has lost or is in danger of losing three months’ worth of events, which is devastating.

“While some major trade and consumer shows and conferences were able to run safely and well earlier in the year, with visitation and sales achieving record levels, this was not enough to restore profitability. The industry does not have a buffer.

“The EEAA has therefore been in contact with NSW Government to request additional targeted support and to be brought into the various working groups. We note that the effect is being felt in other states with border closures and restrictions and continue to advocate for a clear policy and timetable for vaccinations to enable re-opening.

“We are also collaborating with other industry associations on critical issues such as insurance schemes to further support the industry and to return confidence,” said Sagripianti’s statement.

Meetings and Events Australia has said it was concerned for the welfare of its members and all industry professionals, not just in NSW but around the country. Lockdowns, border closures and the vaccination rollout impacts our industry nationwide.

MEA CEO Peter McDonald said, “We are keeping our members informed about government initiatives, and together with our industry peers and other associations, we are in conversation with local and state governments.

“We continue to advocate to the Federal Government as a member of BECA, the alliance of industry associations for the sector. The need for immediate and long-term support for our sector’s recovery is paramount.”

MEA Chair Nigel Collin said he recognised the financial impact being universally experienced. He said MEA was confident of a continued industry bounce back once lockdown ends.

“We started to see traction with events getting underway safely and effectively across the country before this spike, so there is an evident appetite for people to meet face to face once again.”

Andrew Hiebl, Association of Australian Convention Bureaux CEO who is Canberra-based continues to converse with government in Canberra weekly at various levels. He agrees more needs to be done for our industry.