A Message from the EEAA President

By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 22 April, 2020

I thought I would update you on what your association has been working on since the COVID crisis sent our Industry into hibernation.

Your new CEO, Claudia Sagripanti has hit the ground running and has been lobbying all governments directly as well as through BECA and along the way enlisting the cooperation of other associations such as the VMA, MEA and the PCOA to name just a few.

We would like to think that along with all other industry bodies, the EEAA has contributed to the Federal Government arriving at their recent stimulus packages such as the JobKeeper programme.

The EEAA is also advocating to government that these initiatives may still not be enough, for example even if events recommence in some form in the second half of the year a lot of suppliers, operators and even venues may not have the cash flow to enter into contracts to actually deliver the products and/or the services. Maybe something like a cash injection to industry SMEs or even perhaps a short-term industry free loan. Claudia will keep you updated on this.

We are also addressing what the Post-COVID event will look like, especially in the short term. The EEAA feels that industry needs to provide government with a “COVID safe and healthy” environment set of protocols that address the risk factors for not only attendees at events but for suppliers, contractors, exhibitors and venue operators. The EEAA is of the opinion industry needs to solve this problem for government and health agencies rather than be told how we should operate. In other words, we need to provide the solution and the operating framework rather than be included in any wider public gathering decree. The EEAA is working with all relevant industry bodies such as the VMA to fast track this.

Our industry needs to convince government that to restart the economy, business events will be the safest and quickest way to reconnect all business and this is the message we will deliver to government.

Finally, in these trying times, the feedback from our young stars is obviously one of concern about what the future holds for them in an industry that feels as if it is being disrupted by technology such as virtual and digital events. Whilst this may be the case in the very short term, digital products will complement the traditional F2F event, not replace it. Consider sporting events which up to the early 90s were reliant on crowd ticket sales and merchandise. Along came big broadcast rights where every game in every sport was telecast live. I am sure everyone back then thought that this technological disruption would impact on attendances – well that did not really happen.

I don’t know about you, but this is my fifth week isolated at home and I am desperate to get out and meet and interact with other people, and that’s what the business community is thinking as well.

Claudia and her team will continue the fight and will keep you updated.

Warm regards

Spiro Anemogiannis

President EEAA

Source: Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia