Evolve postponed to 2022 while MEA Awards go virtual in September

Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) has deferred its annual conference ‘Evolve’ to 2022.

The “difficult decision” follows continuing challenges presented by the ongoing lockdown for Melbourne.

“In the interests of all stakeholders, MEA believes the best option is to reschedule Evolve to a time when immunised population target levels are expected,” said MEA CEO Peter McDonald.

“By doing so, we are reinforcing the significance of meeting in-person.

“We also want to honour our commitment to host the next face to face Evolve in Melbourne. MEA has made every possible effort to bring that to fruition in 2021.

“However current government pandemic management restrictions right across our country, and the potential for their extension, make the risk of staging the event on 8 September too high.”

Melbourne Convention Bureau chief executive Julia Swanson said she understood the importance of holding Evolve as a live event.

“The live hub in Melbourne will contribute to this action and build confidence in hosting and attending events which is right at the heart of the conference theme of Building Confidence through Best Practice,” she said.

Registered delegates will automatically have their registration transferred to the rescheduled event, and options with respect to obtaining a refund have been advised.

In the meantime, Professor Catherine Bennett, Chair of Epidemiology at Deakin University, will deliver a national Q&A webinar for MEA on September 8.

MEA also reaffirmed that an annual Awards event will still proceed in 2021. This will now take place on September 22 and be broadcast live to the industry.

“The MEA Board believes it is important to keep a positive focus wherever possible,” said Nigel Collin, MEA’s Chair.

“The 2020 MEA National Awards is an opportunity where where we can do that. We look forward to celebrating the success of all finalists and winners and recognising outstanding performance despite the adversity the world faced last year.”