‘Big hit to the sector’ as New Zealand associations reel from continuing restrictions

The latest survey from the New Zealand Events Association (NZEA) has highlighted the dire situation of New Zealand’s events sector, adding further weight to its recent plea for help to Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

Survey respondents reported the cancellation of 428 events and postponement of 444 events, with more than half (55%) stating that the recent COVID-19 response has had a considerable financial impact on their organisation, whilst a further 23 per cent stated that it had a moderate financial impact.

The organisations that were willing to share their financial impact reported losses of up to NZ$2 million dollars each with an average loss of NZ$167 thousand per organisation, and total losses of NZ$17.5 million.

The NZEA is calling for targeted and extended financial support, a risk-based approach to events at alert level 2, a government-backed insurance facility and improved MIQ systems.

“Whilst this reflects a big hit to the sector, should higher alert levels remain then the impact will only worsen as we move into spring and summer, traditionally the busiest time for events,” NZEA said in a statement.

The association said the sector is already facing a skills shortage with many event professionals having already left the industry due to COVID-19 impacts leaving future major events in jeopardy.

The NZ Events Association is calling for urgent government support, saying the current financial support is “not fit for purpose”, in addition to a targeted fund for event businesses and its supply chain proportionate to the decline in revenue due to COVID-19- cancelled events when compared to pre-COVID-19 turnover.

Other measures include a risk-based approach to events at Alert Level 2 that recognises that not all events present the same level of risk and a government-backed insurance scheme for events to underwrite events for NZ$50 million.

“Without clear and concrete measures in place ahead of the peak events season, the government runs the risk of losing its capability, expertise and its supply chain which have been instrumental in driving investment, economic and social benefits, domestic tourism (and international tourism when our borders open again) and delivering on a world class event industry that Kiwis more than ever need within this period of COVID-19 Delta variant induced austerity,” said NZ Events Association general manager Ségolène de Fontenay.