September 1, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Save Victorian Events, the grassroots industry-led advocacy movement in Victoria, has released its latest survey quantifying the challenges for the industry across the state.

The grim results made the organisation “apprehensive” to share the results with industry stakeholders, given the amount of doom and gloom already being felt within the events community.

“All of us in the event industry already know how difficult things are, so we don’t need a survey to remind us,” said Save Victorian Events co-founder Simon Thewlis.

“The reason for this survey is to quantify what we already know and are experiencing in the event industry into facts that are easy for governments and the mainstream media to understand – as they still have a fairly limited knowledge of our industry. And to pressure governments to finally act!  We are already very actively using this data already to do that.”

The survey results show that respondents had only 19 percent of normal business income between April 2020 and May 2021, falling to 14 percent from June to August 2021 and only 18 percent of respondents are expecting to receive any income between September and December this year.

Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said all of their event business has been cancelled until the end of the year, with 61 percent saying most of their business had been cancelled.

Over half of respondents said they had lost at least $200,000 due to recent lockdowns with 20 percent indicating losses of over $1 million.

Industry respondents also indicated that their pre-pandemic capability to deliver event projects had decreased by almost half and just over a quarter of respondents said they thought their business was unlikely to survive until the end of the year, with a further 47 percent unsure if their business would still be operating in 2022.

“We now need to change the governments’ mindsets from thinking that events might happen again one day, to what are we going to do TODAY to get events actually happening again later this year,” said Thewlis.

“We can all play a role in pushing for this,” he said, recommending industry players contact their local MPs to highlight the industry’s challenges.

Victorian industry can find the names and contact details for their local members here.

“We’ve put a detailed strategy to government – a while back now – outlining how to support the event industry’s recovery and about the role that events can and should be playing in Victoria, and Australia’s, overall pandemic recovery.”

The strategy covers proper recognition of events as an industry and understanding the real value of events, setting up an industry taskforce and the establishment of a government events unit, immediate financial support for the industry and a Government underwritten insurance scheme for event cancellation due to COVID-19 and health restrictions that are based on a real world understanding of event risks.

“There has never been a time when events have been more needed: to bring communities together again, to help businesses successfully get through their biggest changes in their histories, to rebuild confidence in the economy,” said Thewlis.