The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is joining forces with some prominent figures in Victoria’s business event sector to ensure the industry is well informed and equipped to make it through to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis, and to be able to hit ‘restart’ in the most effective way.
VTIC is calling on the State Government to engage with this vital sector to enable it to plan and prepare for a reanimation strategy that makes sense.
Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “At present the events industry is uncertain about its fate, with many businesses left with 100% cancellation rates and no clear indication of its future.
“We understand that safety is paramount, which is why we want to work in lockstep with Government so we can be guided through the best way to start the recovery process, now.
“Engaging with industry on safety measures and procedures that are able to be implemented will ensure we reopen in a responsible and appropriate manner to protect both our staff and our guests.”
With strict bans on public and private gatherings in place, the economic pressures thrust on the industry
continue to mount. As a result, many businesses have been forced to close, or are on the verge of closing their doors indefinitely.
Past Chair of the Victorian Events Industry Council, Managing Director of iconic Melbourne company Peter Jones Special Events, Peter Jones said he feared for the industry and its future, with thousands of contractors and suppliers suffering with no relief in sight.
“We must remember that running an event is not a ‘one man show.’
“The flow on effects from cancelling just one event – of which there have already been countless – has serious consequences to hundreds of individuals involved across a broad range of sectors.
“Holding a dinner for 500 guests has another 500 people working behind the scenes. From the venues, banquet and kitchen staff, to the security, cleaners, AV companies and more, it takes an army to get the job done.
“This is just the beginning of all those suppliers and contractors who will be waiting a lot longer than the opening of golf courses and schools to restart their businesses. And forget large outdoor public gatherings like festivals and parades; That’s 2021 at the earliest.
“Unfortunately, many supplier businesses will not make it through to the other side of COVID-19 and our sector will be forever changed,” Mr Jones said.
Deputy Chair of VTIC, Chief Executive Officer of Saxton Speakers Bureau, Anne Jamieson added, “Never has it been more important to have a response and recovery framework in place for the events industry.
“It is vital that over the next 12 months we have Government support to ensure that our industry can re-bound and then grow. We need to come to together and support business with no cashflow or forward pipeline so that they can survive beyond COVID 19.”
According to the Business Events Council of Australia, the industry is bracing itself to lose $35.7 billion nationally over the next 12 months, with 96% of business events scheduled for 2020 now cancelled, resulting in an estimated 92,000 job losses across the country.
“We need to be united in our collaboration with all levels of government to establish a coordinated approach that ensures the people ‘behind the scenes’ aren’t forgotten and left jobless. We must act now to ensure there’s a bright future for events and we welcome the State Government’s advice on how best to approach the reanimation of this vital sector,” Ms Mariani concluded.