Industry association Meetings and Events Australia (MEA), announced, 16 August, it would be deferring its annual Evolve conference to 2022.
MEA claims the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated decisive leadership and action on its part and said the primary factor in the decision had been the uncertainty around border restrictions across the country and the limitations that posed on travel to attend events in-person.
Peter McDonald, MEA CEO, said: “In the interests of all stakeholders, MEA believes the best option is to reschedule Evolve to a time when immunised population target levels are expected. By doing so, we are reinforcing the significance of meeting in-person.
McDonald continued: “MEA has made every possible effort to bring that to fruition in 2021. However, current government pandemic management restrictions right across our country, and the potential for their extension, make the risk of staging the event on 8 September too high.”
The Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), a key MEA partner for this Evolve, offered their support for the decision. MCB chief executive, Julia Swanson, said: “We welcome MEA’s continued support and leadership in championing in-person events to drive recovery of our industry.”
Registered delegates will automatically have their registration transferred to the rescheduled event, and options with respect to obtaining a refund have been advised.
MEA is pleased to also announce that Professor Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology, Deakin University will deliver a national Q&A webinar for it on 8 September.
MEA reaffirmed that an annual Awards event will proceed in 2021. This will now take place on 22 September and be broadcast live to the industry. Nigel Collin, MEA Chair said: “The MEA Board believes it is important to keep a positive focus wherever possible. The 2020 MEA National Awards is an opportunity where we can do that. We look forward to celebrating the success of all finalists and winners and recognising outstanding performance despite the adversity the world faced last year.”