ZERO! It’s official

By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 16 June, 2020

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics data confirmed short-term overseas arrivals in April 2020 whose main reason for travel was to attend a convention or conference was zero.
  • BECA urges all states and territories to lift the 100-person cap on indoor gatherings inline with the National Cabinet’s Stage 3 roadmap to be completed in July.
  • Domestic border restrictions also need to be lifted to enable the return of business events.

Overseas arrivals data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday has confirmed the extreme shutdown of Australia’s international business events industry. The number of short-term visitors arriving in April 2020 whose main reason for travel was to attend a convention or conference was zero.

With Australia’s borders still closed, this picture is unlikely to change for some time, and represents the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business events industry and jobs.

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) welcomes the recent announcement by the National Cabinet to lift the 100-person cap on indoor gatherings as part of Step 3, to be completed in July.

BECA Chair Dr. Vanessa Findlay said “For business recovery, it is critical that notice is given to allow professional event organisers to plan and promote, as well as implement new safety and hygiene protocols.”

“We urge all states and territories to announce this change for July as soon as possible in line with Step 3 of the framework for a COVIDSafe Australia.”

“It is also timely that internal borders are lifted at the same time to allow the significant domestic business events industry to flourish.”

Research commissioned by BECA shows that business events directly contribute $35.7 billion to the Australian economy and employs 229,000 people. To sustain and grow the business events industry, event organisers, hotels, venues and service providers need a unified date to work towards so business events can rapidly restart with COVIDSafe measures.

With nearly all business events (96%[1]) for 2020 cancelled or postponed when COVID-19 hit, the business events industry is well placed to maximise the opportunity from Australia’s outstanding performance in managing its COVID-19 infection rates and now the early lifting of restrictions.

Australia’s convention bureaux had secured almost 400 domestic business events for their respective destinations for the year, with an expected attendance of 170,000 delegates contributing $282 million to the Australian economy. With a further strong pipeline of business events not yet confirmed, this represents a sound opportunity from which to restart.

As soon as we receive confirmation from state and territory governments that we can once again hold COVIDSafe business events, planning can get underway and we can commence recovery of the important domestic market.”

We look forward to working with all other sectors of tourism (accommodation, food and beverage, venues, transport, entertainment) that form the ecosystem within which business events makes its $35.7 billion contribution to the economy.” Dr Findlay said.

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About BECA:

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) was formed in 1994 as a peak industry body. It provides an umbrella structure for the key industry associations operating in the Australian business events sector: The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB), Australian Convention Centres Group (ACCG), Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA), International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA)-Australian Chapter, Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) and the Professional Conference Organisers Association Inc (PCOA).

As the peak industry body for the business events sector we provide a single voice for the industry and liaise with the federal government and relevant agencies on matters common to all sectors of the industry. Our members represent the cross-section of the industry and we work together to build a strong voice for all sectors of the industry.

Business Events are major drivers of the Australian economy and generate trade, investment, employment, knowledge sharing and also stimulate the visitor economy.

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[1] Lost Business Report: Impacts of COVID-19 on the Business Events Industry, McCrindle, April 2020

Source: Business Events Council of Australia