By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 7 May, 2020

This week, your association, on your behalf, embarked on a lobbying campaign with State and Federal governments.

The campaign centred on the key message of differentiating exhibitions and business events from ‘mass gatherings’, and a timetable for re-opening. We also want to ensure that the message is clear – that the industry is ready to return, and our clients and marketplaces are ready to invest.

Starting with NSW and Victorian Premiers and relevant ministers, we requested that:

  • The Government revisit terminology such as ‘mass gatherings’ in such a way that differentiates gatherings of scale that are uncontrolled and unmonitored from those events with established protocols, guest lists and processes, such as business events. A failure to do so risks significant damage to customer confidence in the sector.
  • The Government commit to an August restart for controlled events of scale, such as business events, under the assurance of a Bio-Safe Framework for business events, currently under development. This will provide sufficient lead time for the sector to scale up.​
  • The industry is given access to government and medical advice in the development of this framework, to ensure all concerns and matters that may arise are reasonably addressed.

On a national level, we have tabled this with Minister Birmingham, and with the relevant taskforces including the Tourism Recovery Taskforce.

We issued a media release today, adding further weight to our Government lobbying.

Business events are not controlled “mass gatherings”

Our position is that exhibitions and business events are separate from other “mass gatherings” and therefore need to be treated separately. The term ‘mass gatherings’, doesn’t acknowledge the specific purpose of the event. Business events are readily distinguished from sporting fixtures, festivals, and concerts, and from unorganised gatherings in shopping centres, public parks and beaches. The participants of exhibition and B2B trade events are focused on doing business, exchanging information, and sharing/transferring knowledge. It is entirely possible for exhibition participants to maintain the required distance from each other and achieve their business goals.

We also requested that the government makes this distinction clear, and announce an August restart, to allow scaling up and re-investment. This will allow the return to work of many thousands of workers, spend on marketing and advertising, and engaging of suppliers, venues and support services – a significant portion of which are small enterprises.

We run highly organised events and can trace every one of our visitors, delegates, speakers and exhibitors as well as monitor, track and put in place a range of measures that will ensure our events will comply with Government measures on hygiene and physical distancing.

In short, we can make our events safe.

The EEAA along with the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) and other major industry associations such as the Venue Management Association (VMA) is developing a Bio-Safe principles for the Government and Health officials.

The events industry can create jobs and help the economy recover. In FY19 business events alone directly generated $35.7 billion in economic activity and employed over 229,000 people across a range of sectors and trades. This figure does not even include festivals, weddings and other consumer events.

International News

Heartening developments – We’re starting to see the industry back in business overseas, which will give our request to Government more weight:

  • German trade shows and Business Events are restarting from 30 May in the North Rhine-Westphalia region with restrictions on the number of visitors and other protocols. Read more here.
  • The 2020 Hunan Auto Show, opened on 30 April at the Hunan International Convention and Exhibition Centre, in the city of Changsha in south central China, ran until 5 May. It is being seen as a first major large-scale exhibition to resume in China and a welcome green shoot for the wider return of tradeshows in the country and internationally.
  • UFI have published a global framework of recommended operating protocols to cover plannng, operations and post-event for the exhibition and business events industry to follow. Read the media release and view the protocols.

We will keep you updated on our progress, and on the next steps in the campaign.


Source: Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia