BECA calls for border unity to ‘enable survival’ of event sector

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) is calling on a unified stance on border closures nationally to deliver the necessary confidence for events to plan ahead.

“One month in to 2021 and the business events industry continues to face uncertainty, severe limitations and restrictions compromising its pathway to recovery and survival,” BECA said in a statement.

“Throughout 2020, the industry invested heavily in preparing its businesses to deliver COVID Safe events in terms of protocols, training and infrastructure and has demonstrated its ability to do so safely and effectively.

“However, the critical challenge now being faced by the business events industry is uncertainty in relation to border management, conflicting guidelines for event approvals across the states and the financial implication to businesses with the impending conclusion of JobKeeper.”

BECA maintained that the ongoing uncertainty around borders had forced events to cancel for the first half of 2021 including Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event.

“The business events industry will not recover if it is limited to conducting state-based events as a result of this uncertainty,” BECA stated.

“We need to be able to leverage off the size and scope of national event participation and the contribution it makes to the visitor economy. With the current limitations on international inbound business, our industry is even more reliant on this national market to recover in 2021.”

BECA is calling on our state and federal leaders to commit to an evidence-based approach to managing internal borders.

“A nationally consistent approach to the management of hot spots that may arise is essential to avoid the haphazard and unnecessary shutdown of borders,” BCEA stated.

“This approach is critical to enable survival and then recovery of the business events industry.

“Many businesses in our industry are now looking at 12-18 months of little or no revenue and face the ongoing challenge of survival, sustaining their organisation and retaining their employees without an income stream until events are reinstated to a more robust level.”

Dr Vanessa Findlay, Chair of BECA, said the industry still faces “extraordinary challenges to ensure the survival of the business events sector”.

“With the impending conclusion of the JobKeeper scheme, the industry is deeply concerned that the conditions that led to JobKeeper have not improved for the business events industry,” she said.

“Businesses cannot remain viable with revenue losses that are averaging more than 70 per cent, and this has been ongoing for over 12 months now. We cannot see a path to recovery for the industry if it does not include some form of ongoing targeted Government support.”