BECA warns against ‘knee jerk reaction’ of border closures

BECA chair Dr Vanessa Findlay.

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) is urging Premiers and Chief Ministers to react proportionately to news of a COVID-19 cluster in South Australia.

“As I watch the knee-jerk reaction of some Premiers around the country to the South Australian cluster with no notice, I fear the worst for any business trying to rebuild confidence in this uncertain environment,” BECA Chair Dr Findlay said.

“For business events, this means decision-makers, those that bear 100 per cent of the risk, will favour the continuation of virtual meetings over in-person meetings, which will have serious consequences for the Australian industry and the economy if delegates can’t move around the country with confidence.”

The call comes as Austrade opens an EOI process to business event owners to establish a Schedule of Approved Business Events as part of the first phase of the government’s $50 million Business Events Grants Program.

“The industry has its fingers crossed that the design of the grants program will provide the necessary financial boost and confidence to business event owners to book and hold their business event during 2021,” said Dr Findlay.

“Another year of cancelled and postponed events would put the entire Australian business events industry in a questionable recovery position. Without a solid recovery in 2021, the whole logistics and supply chain for the industry could be dislocated to a point where the impacts are felt for years to come. We do not want to see the industry focused on five years of rebuilding, before moving to recovery and then rebound.

“This grants program must first and foremost turn positive sentiment into confidence, and that confidence into event bookings.”