With restrictions lifted and people encouraged to return to their workplaces, Victoria is being encouraged to get back to business, with the State’s business events sector at the forefront of the drive.
Yesterday, the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Hon Martin Pakula, met with industry association representatives from Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia (EEAA), Meeting and Events Australia (MEA) and Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC), as well as leaders from the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) to discuss short term and long term measures to accelerate the re-start of the business events sector.
Pre-COVID, business events contributed more than $12 billion to the Victorian economy and employed 85,000 Victorians. Although the industry has been severely impacted over the past two years, the focus is now firmly on supporting the return of conferences and exhibitions to the city and regions.
The industry groups welcomed the recent Victorian Government announcement that tickets for conferences and exhibitions are included in the $30 million rebate scheme being offered to Victorians, and are looking forward to engaging further with the Government in relation to the details of the scheme.
“Now is the time to conduct or attend a meeting, conference or exhibition in the coming weeks and months, not only to commercially benefit the participant and their organisation but the broader Victorian economy and business event community,” a spokesperson for the industry groups said.
The recent lifting of further restrictions was also welcomed by the industry which has demonstrated business events can be conducted safely and effectively with COVID-safe measures in place, that don’t compromise the experience.
Over the recent weeks, Victoria has seen the return of a number of large conferences and exhibitions, with strong exhibitor and patron attendance further cementing industry confidence.
As businesses return to their workplaces, the industry groups emphasised the strategic and commercial benefit of corporate and association events and strongly encouraged businesses and their employees to participate in face to face engagement. Gathering in a professional business environment at events is crucial to knowledge sharing, professional development, trade relations and the creation of valuable connections and relationships.
“Business events facilitate state and national interactions in our city and our regions whilst attracting international participation given our borders are open to the world again.”
The industry groups detailed the positive, wide reaching direct economic impact that business events provide the network of suppliers including but not limited to venues, hotels, airlines, organisers, food and beverage suppliers, speakers, technicians, exhibition specialists and transportation providers contributing to the sustainability of these organisations and the professionals they employ.