President of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australia, Spiro Anemogiannis, sent the following message to the EEAA membership, 30 July:
Four weeks ago, with the winding back of restrictions in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territories, we were close to achieving the same results in Victoria and New South Wales, which would have enabled our industry to restart from September onwards. And last week’s meeting that EEAA chief executive Claudia Sagripanti had with the prime minister and a select industry group, has given exhibitions and business events a high profile at a federal level.
The Melbourne crisis has obviously stalled this with an unlikely restart this year, especially in Melbourne and most probably in Sydney. This is disappointing to say the least. Other states however are, and can run, in-person events, especially if they are local or regional.
We have a number of members who have already successfully run events which will help with restoring confidence.
We have embarked on our Rebuild Strategy, with the launch of the ‘Expo Ready’ campaign which is still very relevant, especially for states outside of Victoria.
We have also begun discussions with a large number of industry associations to develop a national media campaign engaging associations and corporates to promote the value of business events and exhibitions. We are also at the final draft stage of the Safe Operating Framework for organisers and suppliers, which will also help in rebuilding confidence for exhibitors to invest in this channel.
When we see staff returning to their workplaces and offices is when we will see customers return to our physical events. The physical event vacuum in most places has currently been filled by virtual events, and whilst this allows organisers and customers to keep the industry ‘working’, it doesn’t help the rest of the industry such as venues and other suppliers.
We need to stay on course as an industry. We are still lobbying for more support from government to keep us going until the real turnaround. We are in active discussions with the new National Covid-19 Commission (NCC) around its focus on creating jobs and stimulating our economy.
The positive is that we are all working together to achieve our goal and seeing the return of in-person events as soon as the current landscape allows.