November 5, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

It’s hard to firm up a strategic plan when the entire operating environment of your members has been destabilised, but the Exhibition and Event Association (EEAA) has worked hard to frame its road map for the next two years.

And much of it is about supporting the industry to get back on its feet and prepare it for the future.

Encouraged by the relaxation of domestic and international border restrictions, high vaccination coverage and safe operating protocols, the association says more is needed to help its members.

Nicole Walker, EEAA’s recently appointed President, said there was strong momentum amongst Board members to look at things differently and ensure the association continued to evolve and transform to meet the future direction of the sector. At the core of its work was a desire to support the members and see continued growth.

“While the industry has been buoyed by the progressive relaxation of international and state borders and cautious optimism, much more is needed to be done to ensure a confident and safe return to business,” she said.

“The association will continue to push for targeted government support, in addition to working on industry-led initiatives.”

Following input from across the supply chain, the EEAA has introduced new membership benefits for 2022.

The association said the feedback has also formed the basis of the EEAA Strategic Plan which has five strategic pillars:

  1. Post COVID recovery and resilience building
  2. Professional development and education
  3. Build networks and community
  4. Strengthen brand and reputation
  5. Ensure financial stability and effective governance

Walker says the association would continue to work closely with other business event associations in advocating to governments.

“We appreciate the excellent relationships developed with governments at state and federal levels and the opportunity to collaborate with other business events related associations.

“We will continue our role in these groups to lobby and promote the economic benefits of business events to the visitor economy and rebuilding CBDs and regional centres.

“Additionally, we must now turn our attention to the future and provide our members with the information and tools required to drive their businesses forward in a post-pandemic world.”

The areas to be addressed are:

  • Skills and education, and in particular, attracting and retaining staff to deliver to the high standards expected
  • Sustainability as the EEAA works to update its Sustainability Framework for launch in 2022, in partnership with Tourism Australia
  • Supplier health and support, including pitch sessions
  • Special Interest Groups on a sector-by-sector basis: organisers, venues and suppliers
  • Uptake of international data standards