August 18, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Representatives from the Business Events Council of Australia met – virtually – with the Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan on Monday to ask for targeted support for the business events industry.

The peak advocacy body for the business events industry requested the return of a national wage subsidy for the industry to help it survive and retain its specialist workforce; a national COVID-19 cancellation insurance scheme backed by the Federal Government and supported by the states and territories, and the reintroduction of an “improved” Business Events Grants Program to build confidence amongst business events owners in 2022.

“Survival of the complete visitor and events supply chain is our number one priority, along with maintaining their skilled workforce,” said BECA Deputy Chair and ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy.

“If we are to be match fit for domestic recovery and deliver global best practice to our international clients for which we are recognised when the border reopens, retaining our people is essential.

“With minimal opportunity to earn revenue over the past 18 months, the current Delta lockdowns across Australia are directly impacting lives and livelihoods and the core capability of our dynamic industry.”

“When restrictions lift, business events cannot simply switch on like other industries. Significant lead time is required to book, plan, and deliver business events, which is why targeted and sustained support for our sector is required into 2022,” he said.

BECA’s release also called out the “ripple effect” of outbreaks in some states cause for the national business events industry with border closures and the restricted movement caused by lockdowns preventing events from taking place in states that can host them because stakeholders and attendees are unable to reach the destination.

The body also pointed out that state-based support measures present problems for the events industry which operates across state borders.