New Zealand stages Covid-safe BE Reconnected showcase without social distancing

Australasia News
New Zealand stages Covid-safe BE Reconnected showcase without social distancing

New Zealand’s BE Reconnected brought together over 420 event organisers and suppliers to its business events showcase today, 1 December.

Organised by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), the event showed business events are not only safe, but also a vital component for widespread economic recovery.

Every attendee scanned the Covid tracer app on arrival, before walking past a thermo-imaging camera on entry to the show floor. Individually packed lunches and disposable cups were used for drinks, allowed guests to quickly grab and go.

A St John first responder was on site for the entire day, to ensure immediate medical attention if needed. Self-check-in kiosks were managed by staff so there would be less people handling the kiosk. The kiosks also noted the time attendees checked in and out of the event to ensure help for further contact tracing.

Masks were given away for those who wished to wear one at the event, and everyone who travelled to the event by air or public transport was required to wear a mask while travelling.

BEIA Chief Executive Lisa Hopkins said that attendance at BE Reconnected highlighted the pent-up demand to gather in person with colleagues at meetings and incentives — and she remains optimistic about the future of business events.

Hopkins commented: “More than 290 buyers walked through the show floor connecting with 120 suppliers, which will go towards supporting domestic recovery. We are thrilled with the enthusiasm this event created, and how much was accomplished in one day.

“Ours is a multi-billion-dollar industry with far reaching impact and business events will play a critical role supporting economic recovery.

“Over the next three years, New Zealand will open three international convention centres, with a combined floor space of 10 rugby fields, creating over 1,000 new jobs directly while also supporting other industries such as accommodation, hospitality, food producers and suppliers, and airlines.

Tourism New Zealand’s business events global manager, Lisa Gardiner, presented results of a recent industry survey which showed Covid-19 has increased the value New Zealanders put on face-to-face meetings.

The survey of 125 New Zealand-based organisations found that 97% are planning to hold a business event in 2021.

Gardiner said: “The appetite for meeting is coupled with an increasingly positive attitude towards business events: 92% consider in-person conferences and offsite meetings important for their organisation, up from 79% of respondents in Tourism New Zealand’s May 2020 survey; and more than half (56%) said they appreciate the importance of face to face meetings more now than pre-Covid-19, up from 39% in May.”

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.

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