By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 4 June, 2020

Australia kicked-off the worldwide celebration for Global Exhibitions Day 2020 (#GED2020), marking the occasion with an online webinar highlighting the industry’s economic contribution and a strong call for Exhibitions and Business Events to restart by September this year.

Curated by the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) and streamed from the ICC Sydney studios, the virtual event attracted more than 800 participants who engaged with a panel of high-profile local and international industry commentators.

Claudia Sagripanti, EEAA Chief Executive said, “The clear message that came out of yesterday’s webinar is that the Australian business events industry is ready to restart face-to-face events under Government approved CovidSafe operating guidelines and a confirmed date from Federal and State Governments is required as a matter of urgency.” said Ms Sagripanti.

“Global Exhibitions Day showcases the business events sector’s contribution to trade and investment, new product launches and innovation, employment, domestic and regional visitation and networking,” said Ms Sagripanti.

“Exhibitions and business events are the key to rebuilding economies, and there has never been a more important time to highlight the sector’s capability to restart business activity – a top priority for companies and Governments in the current climate.” said Ms Sagripanti.

The EEAA #GED campaign was designed around three key themes:

  • To Re-imagine the future of exhibitions
  • To Re-engage with buyers and sellers, and
  • To Re-connect with the business events community

Key topics discussed during the webinar included the future of exhibitions and how the format will change in post COVID-19 recovery, hybrid events and what that means for the sector, re-engaging with the sector now to ensure strong confidence amongst buyers and sellers and ensuring the business events community remains financially viable and continues to be recognised as a key marketing channel.

Mark Cochrane, UFI Regional Manager, Asia Pacific, delivered a keynote address and update on global markets live from Hong Kong. He highlighted the opening of Asian markets such as China and Hong Kong as providing critical and relevant frameworks for Australia to follow.

Mark Cochrane said that while the COVID-19 crisis has certainly spurred hybrid events, he maintains that face-to-face events will remain a necessity – where buyers need to meet sellers and see and touch the product. He called out China’s tech giants who were doing interesting things in the online exhibition space, such as E-commerce giant Alibaba Group, where 3D modelling, mixed reality and augmented reality are being used to create an immersive experience.

Matthias Tesi Baur, Founder and Senior Consultant, MBB-Consulting Group – a specialist consulting agency for Trade Shows, B2B and Digital Transformation – dialled in from London and updated the industry on the importance implementing a crisis recovery plan. He advised the industry to establish the sales team, set the strategy, create a post crisis USP and to embrace digital innovations.

Dr Vanessa Findlay, Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) discussed the process and anticipated timeframe for both Federal and State Government decision-making processes and the COVID-19 industry response and recovery strategy formulated by BECA and key industry associations including the EEAA.

Rodney Cox, Events Strategist and Director for Delaro, along with Claudia Sagripanti, EEAA Chief Executive, moderated a panel discussion and live Q+A with international and Australian industry professionals. The discussion centred on WHS and compliance frameworks, hybrid events, crisis recovery, reconnecting with the marketplace and rebuilding buyer confidence post the devastating effect of COVID-19, the next disruptor for the business events industry globally – and the need for the industry to be given a restart date.

The panel included:

Matthias Baur, Founder and Senior Consultant, MBB-Consulting Group

Debbie Evans, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Freeman APAC

Regine Vandenberg, Executive Director, Exhibitions and Events Australia

Helen Mantellato, Business Development Manager – International and Exhibitions, ICC Sydney and EEAA Board Member

View the webinar here:(please note you will need to enter your email address to gain access)

“The business events sector contributes more than $35 billion to GDP, runs over 430,000 events annually and employs more than 229,000 people. The sector is a major contributor to Australia both financially and for its ability to expand marketplaces by bringing together buyers and sellers and offering a platform for launching innovation and new product,” said Ms Sagripanti.

In previous years, the EEAA Global Exhibitions Day initiatives have included the launch of Phase 1 and 2 of its “A Career for Life’ campaign, targeting teachers, career advisors, parents and students and to inspire more young people to consider a career in the industry. In 2017 and 2018, the EEAA was awarded the Industry Impact Award for success in promoting the industry and for our work in engaging the highest levels of Government by Exhibition World Magazine and UFI.



Source: Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia