It goes without saying that Australia’s business events industry, like the rest of the world’s, has been devastated by COVID-19. In a few short weeks our sector – worth $35.7 billion a year to the economy – shutdown, impacting businesses and livelihoods up and down the supply chain and across the country.
During this incredibly challenging time it has been heartening to see Australia’s industry come together to fight for survival and plan a route to recovery. This is being done via two key channels – at an industry level through the Business Event Council of Australia (BECA) and in partnership with the broader tourism industry, via The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Tourism Restart Taskforce.
As CEO of ICC Sydney and Deputy-Chair of BECA, I have been involved with both groups and am using my voice to raise awareness of the economic, cultural and social importance of our industry, and the need for urgent support measures. This includes a call for business events to be classified as highly structured and managed events, more akin to a workplace than mass gatherings. This distinction is paramount to enabling our industry’s rapid restart.
As an industry we also have a critical role to play in instilling confidence in Government and clients to make this distinction and enable us to safely restart. To this end, we are readying ourselves to host events in a world that will face the ongoing threat of COVID-19 for some time. As an industry we are putting in place guidelines and protocols that will ensure the safety of all events as they restart across Australia.