The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) urges all states and territories to lift the 100-person cap on indoor gatherings in July, following the National Cabinet’s recent announcement of the Step 3 roadmap.
Domestic border restrictions also need to be lifted to enable the return of business events.
This new phase comes imperative as the extreme shutdown of Australia’s international business events industry has led to zero overseas arrivals for a convention or conference in April 2020, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
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.
BECA Chair Dr Vanessa Findlay said, “For business recovery, notice must be 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 AUD35.7 billion (USD 24.7 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.
Restarting the economy
With nearly all business events (96 per cent) 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 AUD282 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 business events ecosystem,” said Dr Findlay.