While the majority of business events in Tasmania scheduled for 2020 would still go ahead next year, the state has estimated it has lost around $50 million in conference spending this year.
Business Events Tasmania (BET) says 20 events were cancelled, stripping $8.4 million in direct conference expenditure from the economy, but another 69 would still go ahead, mostly next year, bringing in $44 million in direct expenditure.
“There is no doubt that the pandemic has had a huge impact on Tasmania’s business events industry, and the reach is wide,” BET chief executive Marnie Craig told The Mercury.
“As well as those working specifically to cater for conferences and business events, the cancellation of conferences has a flow-on effect to hotel, restaurants, and experience operators.”
Craig said the international border closures presented Tasmania with an opportunity to tap into the domestic corporate incentive market.
“We’re seeing increased demand from the corporate and incentive market with an expected 30 per cent increase in delegates coming to Tasmania in February 2021 compared to the same month in 2019, with four times the number of room nights,” Craig said.
Hotel Grand Chancellor general manager Ralph Freckelton told The Mercury there was “a lot of optimism in the industry and as restrictions ease”.
“Hobart and Tasmania is seen as a safe place and we’re receiving a lot of enquiries for events that would normally have gone overseas,” he said.
“How we will operate those events is evolving as the restrictions change, but generally business events are seen as low risk because the environment is very controlled.”