Representatives of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) met, 16 August, online with the Hon Dan Tehan MP, minister for trade, tourism and investment to request targeted support for businesses reliant upon income from business events.
Geoff Donaghy (pictured), BECA deputy chair and CEO of ICC Sydney, stated: “Survival of the complete visitor and events supply chain is our number one priority, along with maintaining their skilled workforce. If we are to be match fit for domestic recovery and deliver global best practice to our international clients for which we are recognised when the border reopens, retaining our people is essential.”
BECA has called for targeted measures as a lifeline towards recovery:
- SURVIVAL – The return of a national wage subsidy scheme to support business survival and retention of specialist industry skills.
- CONFIDENCE – The introduction of a national, Commonwealth Government led event insurance scheme, achieved in partnership with state and territory governments, to cover for government-enforced cancellations and postponements resulting from COVID-19 restrictions.
- RECOVERY – Introduce an improved Business Events Grant Programme to stimulate demand of in-person business events in 2022, via corporate and association event owners.
BECA argues the vaccination roll out is an essential part of the solution, however, the 4-phase National Plan to transition Australia’s Covid-19 Response provides little clarity for when meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions can restart across the country.
Furthermore, BECA claims the ‘ripple effect’ of lockdowns has restricted the ability of delegates and exhibitors to travel freely within Australia, threatening the commercial viability of in-person business events in destinations that are open to host them.
Donaghy added: “When restrictions lift, business events cannot simply switch on like other industries. Significant lead time is required to book, plan, and deliver business events, which is why targeted and sustained support for our sector is required into 2022.”