August 6, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) and members including Meetings and Events Australia (MEA), the Professional Conference Organisers Association (PCOA) and the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) are encouraging the industry and the wider community to get vaccinated, promoting the hashtag #GiveBEaShot.

However, in a statement, while supporting the Federal Government’s four-phase plan to reopen Australia, BECA has warned that the business events industry cannot remain on hold until the plan’s first vaccine thresholds to move Australia to a less volatile lockdown environment are met. The first threshold is 70 percent of all Australian adults vaccinated by a national average and within each state.

“The business events industry cannot be placed on hold until these targets are met,” said BECA’s statement.

“Lives and livelihoods of those reliant on income from business events are at risk. If future uncertainty remains due to public health order restrictions, governments must continue to support all businesses impacted.”

The national peak body has put forward a proposal for a Business Events Catalyst Fund, which suggests various methods for helping the industry to operate within the uncertainty of the pandemic. The fund suggests options including rebates, incentive grant payments, a non-refundable underwriting facility or nation-wide event insurance scheme.

BECA is also advocating for a national approach to support for the sector to reflect its operation on a national level.

“The industry does not take account of domestic borders, mostly reliant on interstate services, labour, equipment, and participants,” said the organisation’s statement.

“The impact of recent lockdowns has further evidenced this. With significant numbers of delegates and exhibitors not able to freely travel within Australia, the commercial viability of many in-person business events is at risk even if the host destination allows the event to take place.

“Likewise, organisers running events in other states don’t receive access to any state-based business support if restrictions prevent that event from proceeding.”