News dalla rete ITA

15 Febbraio 2021

Australia

BUSINESS EVENT REVENUE DOWN BY UP TO 90 PER CENT, NO BOUNCE UNTIL AT LEAST 2022

Australia’s business events industry, once worth $35 billion but decimated by COVID-19 through 2020, has abandoned all hope of a 2021 rebound after an appalling start to the year due to “the lack of clarity and consistency” over state border openings and closures. Geoff Donaghy, CEO of the International Convention Centre Sydney, is forecasting venue revenue this financial year will be down at least 90 per cent. Mr Donaghy said the future remained uncertain. While there were signs of recovery with the number of events booked at ICC slowly increasing, most were much smaller than usual, inevitably hybrid, with the big revenue-generating blockbusters thin on the ground. As a result, his most optimistic projection for the 2021-22 financial year for ICC was a 50 per cent reduction in revenue, “but that’s subject to a lot of assumptions” – all of which are out of his control. He and others in the industry believe border closures by various state governments following the NSW COVID-19 outbreak over Christmas and New Year severely damaged confidence among consumers about crossing state lines, due to the legitimate fear they may not be able to return home. This was graphically demonstrated by the cancellation of the business events industry’s own forum, the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME), which was scheduled for the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre in late March. AIME event director Silke Calder said she and her team were “shattered” by the decision to cancel but it was inevitable because of feedback from interstate delegates that they were reluctant to commit because they might not be able to get home. Vanessa Findlay, chairwoman of peak industry group Business Events Council of Australia, said revenue losses for the sector had averaged more than 70 per cent over the past year and called on the federal government to extend JobKeeper, which ends on March 28. BECA and other industry groups including the Association of Australian Conference Bureaux are also lobbying the federal government to streamline a $50 million support package announced in September 2020 and ensure money goes to those who need it most. AACB chief executive Andrew Hiebl said the Australian Business Events Grant Program was welcomed by the industry when launched but had proved to be overly complex, with questions also raised over the effectiveness of the funding allocation process. Business Events Sydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith said the exhibition and conference slump had also had a devastating impact on the hotel industry in terms of both room and event revenue.   (ICE SYDNEY)


Fonte notizia: AFR 11.02.2021