A Message from the EEAA President

By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 5 August, 2021

In my message last month I focused on vaccination rates being our way back and belatedly all governments are now pushing this.

The issue of vaccination passports is controversial, but overseas organisers have already started to restrict access to events to those who are fully vaccinated. It makes sense when there is a sufficient percentage of the community vaccinated. The EEAA is considering this issue also as our next COVID Safe Plan for business events. I believe we as an industry need to present our own road map back to events rather than wait for the usual capacity restrictions and arguments about “mass gatherings” etc.

In the current environment it is a challenge to stay positive about our industry.

However, a recent article by Philip Soares, Chairman of Closer Still Media and Exhibitions Group in the UK, spells out the reasons why trade shows keep getting written off time and time again but remain an important cog in the business of doing business.

Some of his reasons, and I apologise for borrowing heavily from his article, are in last month’s Flashes & Flames magazine.

  • “What happens at Trade Shows is totally visible to everyone: you can see the hall, how many people are in the hall, and what they are doing. You can also talk to the exhibitors. With other media, you really don’t know how many eye balls see what you spend (apart from Google etc – which isn’t to be discounted, but then nor are bots which, on occasion, can represent the majority of hits).”
  • “People go to trade shows because they really do want to be part of their annual industry gathering. They go to see old friends. They go for PR. They go looking for jobs. They go to see what other companies are doing… These are human traits, not “commercial” ones”
  • “Is digitalisation a false dawn? When broadband spread around 2004, I foolishly predicted that major conferences would be adversely affected. Why would attendees spend perhaps $1,500 to travel to the live event, pay $800 to the organiser, book hotel rooms etc, when they would increasingly be able to see the sessions online? I was wrong. People still go in large numbers and have not drunk the digitalisation Kool-Aid. The comment by Informa CEO Stephen Carter in February that he did not expect digitalisation options to detract from the overall value of his trade shows was a bellwether.”

The EEAA continues to lobby all governments for financial assistance during the current lockdowns and restrictions. We will continue to “educate” all governments that we are more than just a visitor economy and therefore a subset of the Tourism industry, something that unfortunately has been ingrained with government since the beginning of time!

EEAA’s membership of ACCI (Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) is one way we continue to engage with all governments on this front. Our voice and participation in other think tanks and government working groups continues to be included. We are getting our message across, and we are being heard. There is a huge collective effort. EEAA Claudia Sagripanti will provide an update on lobbying and advocacy shortly.

In the meantime the EEAA will be running the following:

Expert Power Sessions
A series of short, in-depth information sessions featuring expert advice and insights on a range of topics. The first session will be held next Tuesday 10 August at 10:00am on the topic of Government Grants & Incentives. This session will be presented by Sameer Kassam, Co-founder and Partner at CharterNet.

Register here.

Stay tuned for our next Expert Power Session which will focus on “Marketing in Challenging Times”.

Special Interest Groups for Organisers / Association Organisers & Suppliers
The EEAA will be holding separate Organiser and Supplier Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in August 2021. These will be run via Zoom and facilitated by an expert moderator. The SIGs will provide a forum to air and share your concerns, learnings and solutions, to workshop common topics, which will assist in developing policy recommendations to Government and ultimately direct how the industry recovers. The first session will be held Thursday 12 August.

Spaces are limited. Members will be given priority access. Request invitation by emailing Claudia Sagripanti.

Advocacy: Covid Response Survey
The EEAA is committed to leading the industry through the pandemic crisis and onwards to stability and growth. Please complete this short 5 minutes survey so we can continue to support and be your voice and ensure that the Business Events and Exhibition Industry is understood and recognised across business, government and community for its significant and positive economic and social impact.

Complete survey here.

Warm regards,

Spiro Anemogiannis
President, EEAA


Source: Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia