The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) is urging all states and territories to commit to lifting the 100-person cap on events and to reopen their borders simultaneously, under step three of the Federal Government’s COVIDSafe framework.
BECA chair Vanessa Findlay welcomed the recent announcement by the National Cabinet to lift the 100-person cap on indoor gatherings as part of step three, which is to be completed in July.
However, she said states and territories need to commit to a timeline to ensure business events can restart as soon as possible.
“For business recovery, it is critical that notice is given to allow professional event organisers to plan and promote, as well as implement new safety and hygiene protocols,” she said.
“We urge all states and territories to announce this change for July as soon as possible in line with step three of the framework for a COVIDSafe Australia.”
“It is also timely that internal borders are lifted at the same time to allow the significant domestic business events industry to flourish.”
ABS records zero conference visitors
The announcement comes as new overseas arrivals data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed the number of short-term visitors arriving in April 2020 whose main reason for travel was to attend a convention or conference was zero.
The grim statistics confirmed the extreme impact of the shutdown of Australia’s international business events industry.
With Australia’s borders still closed to overseas arrivals, this picture is unlikely to change for some time.
Research commissioned by BECA shows business events directly contribute $35.7 billion to the Australian economy and employs 229,000 people.
To restart and rebuild the industry, Findlay said event organisers, hotels, venues and service providers need a unified date to work towards.
“As soon as we receive confirmation from state and territory governments that we can once again hold COVIDSafe business events, planning can get underway and we can commence recovery of the important domestic market,” she said.
“We look forward to working with all other sectors of tourism (accommodation, food and beverage, venues, transport, entertainment) that form the ecosystem within which business events makes its $35.7 billion contribution to the economy.”