September 10, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

The peak event industry associations in UK and Europe have adopted a united, strong pro and mandatory vaccination position in the latest safety toolkit made available to the industry. And it’s flowing onto Australian organisers.

A collaboration between the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), the Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) has issued a manual which underlines minimum standards to be adopted across all parts of the industry including organisers, venues and suppliers.

These associations represent many of the major international organisers, associations and suppliers operating in Australia. The guidelines are a useful resource for the Australian industry especially for those drawing up risk management plans.

Spiro Anemogiannis, CEO of Informa Australia and President of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA), says his company has introduced a vaccine passport for its Healthcare in Australia events.

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and has actually restarted bookings,” he told micenet.

The concept is also being discussed with partners for some of Informa Australia’s larger events such as AusRAIL, ADM Defence as well as events for major newspapers the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“The recommendation by industry in the UK and Europe that the existing All Secure COVID Plan now includes a vaccine passport is being discussed at the moment and is gaining wide acceptance.

“I think it is inevitable here and overseas. Even in Florida, the Miami Heat NBA team has introduced vaccine passports for their home matches starting next month.

“Here in Australia we need to protect unvaccinated potential attendees at our events so we are offering them virtual passes instead.”

Anemogiannis says Informa has started the introduction of this policy for its events in November which coincides with government modelling indicating that as a community we will reach an 80 percent vaccination rate that month.

Informa was rebadged as Informa Markets several years ago – it represents one of the biggest events and content companies in the world. In Australia, it produces major conferences for third parties including media and associations. It also runs its own exhibitions and conferences portfolio.

With the release of the international guidelines last month, the AEO said that the All Secure Standard Version 2 was produced to support the the events industry under the UK Government’s move to Phase 4 of reopening the economy.

According to the Version 2 Standard, “it outlines ‘What’ measures show organisers are taking to ensure the health and safety of all visitors, exhibitors, contractors and staff, particularly in response to COVID-19, ‘How’ these measures are being implemented, and ‘Why’ it’s an important component of the industry’s All Secure Guidelines”.

“The guidelines are based on information currently available on the behaviour and characteristics of the Coronavirus, the status of testing capacity, vaccine availability, and local or state guidelines on large gatherings in any particular community. As more clarity on these variables emerges, the guidelines may need to be adjusted accordingly.

“Step 4 does not mark the end of the need for caution and restraint. At step 4, while many of the legal restrictions that the Government has imposed through the pandemic will be lifted, cautious guidance will remain, making it clear this is not yet a return to normal. While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. We will continue to manage the virus and provide guidance over the coming months,” the AEO says.