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Australian business events industry welcomes $50 million funding announcement

Australian business events industry welcomes $50 million funding announcement
September 11, 2020

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s $50 million funding announcement to support the restart of Australia’s business events industry. The targeted support will drive confidence and create momentum, positioning the industry to rebound as market conditions improve.

Under the Australian Business Events Grants Program, approved business events, including meetings conventions, incentives and exhibitions, will be able to apply for upfront grants to cover up to 50% of their costs (between $10,000 and $250,000). This initiative is part of the Federal Government’s $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, which supports sectors severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Business Events Council of Australia Chair, Dr Vanessa Findlay notes “Australia’s business events industry is deeply appreciative of the Federal Government’s support through this grants program. Our industry has been devastated by COVID-19. We can now look to rebuilding business confidence and kick-starting momentum across the entire business events supply chain – for meetings, conventions, incentives and exhibitions. BECA’s goal is to not only support the business events industry itself, but to also maximise the contribution business events make to the recovery of the wider economy. This support package will be pivotal to that.”

The business events industry was one of the first and hardest hit industries by COVID-19 and may be one of the last to recover, due to the long lead times between booking and holding a business event.  By March this year, it was reported that 96% of business events scheduled for 2020 in Australia had been cancelled or postponed.

Close collaboration with Government led to this announcement as BECA’s Recovery and Rebound Framework highlighted the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the sector and the need for funding to drive business confidence. According to an Ernst & Young, report on March 2020, with a contribution of $35.7 billion to the Australian economy, and employment of 229,000 people, it’s important that the business events industry can recover as quickly as possible.

BECA will now lead the industry’s work with Government on the design and implementation of the Australian Business Events Grants Program. Our goal is to get money flowing throughout the supply chain as soon as possible.

Exhibition & Event Association of Australia (EEAA) Chief Executive, Claudia Sagripanti highlighted that “this news confirms the Government's recognition of the critical role that exhibitions and business events play in rebuilding the Australian economy.

“The EEAA has worked extensively with BECA to facilitate this result and we are now in a much stronger position to commence rebuilding business confidence and injecting much-needed cash flow through the supply chain.

“This funding will assist in the business events industry getting back on its feet, and doing what it does best - connecting businesses through consumer and trade shows and conferences, to keen buyers of new products and services. We also look forward to the reopening of state borders to support the viability of the industry.

“The EEAA will continue to work closely with BECA on the design and implementation of the Australian Business Events Grants Program.”

Last year over 480,000 business events were held in Australia and over 43 million people attended a business event in the form of a meeting, convention, exhibition or incentive event. In a recent survey conducted by BECA, 67% of businesses said they don’t have any business events confirmed for 2020 and 48% of businesses said they don’t have any business events confirmed for 2021 either.

While Australia’s state and territory borders remain closed, the recovery of the business events industry is seriously impeded. BECA calls for clear guidelines that provide predictability and transparency in the way the borders are being managed so businesses can plan and book their next business event with confidence.

BECA’s work with Government, and implementation of the Australian Business Events Grants Program, will allow the industry to move to the next phase of recovery and rebound.

Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) President Michael Matthews advises “Australia’s convention bureaux are mindful of the devastating impact the Coronavirus has had on their 1,800 members and industry stakeholders across the country. This funding will have a monumental impact on business confidence and the return of business events in Australia”.

ICC Sydney Chief Executive and BECA Deputy Chair, Geoff Donaghy also welcomed the announcement noting that “the funding package will not only help boost client confidence to start planning events again but, critically, it also acknowledges the enormous economic, cultural and social value of the business events industry to Australia."

Meetings & Events Australia (MEA), Chair Kate Smith agrees and adds “this is much needed support for our industry and recognises the contribution business events can make to the recovery of our economy. Our membership represents the entire supply chain of specialists needed to create and deliver outstanding business events – large, medium and small enterprises as well as sole operators and freelancers. All have been significantly impacted by COVID and this support is a positive step towards our recovery.”

Professional Conference Organisers Association (PCOA) President Barry Neame considers the establishment of the Federal recovery fund to be “a wonderful and timely announcement for PCOs and their clients across Australia, trying to run a business event during the most challenging conditions. Once state borders open, with this support we will do our bit to get the Australian economy back on its feet”.

Image of International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney)

Related Articles

10th September 2020 - Applications closing for Tourism Australia’s Business Events Boost Program 

27th August 2020 - EEAA launches webinars to gain industry insight on the return of in-person exhibitions and business events

6th August 2020 - EEAA launches #ExpoReady campaign

27th July 2020 - Melbourne secures high-profile business events

23rd July 2020 - EEAA launches program to support young members of the business events community

3rd July 2020 - ICC Sydney launches new hybrid event solutions to meet evolving client needs

22nd June 2020 - Tourism Australia launch new program to support domestic business events sector 

17th June 2020 - Business Events Council of Australia highlights impact of COVID-19 shutdown

11th June 2020 - ICC Sydney launches operating framework for safe reopening of events  

4th June 2020 - EEAA online webinar highlights Australian business events industry ready to restart face-to-face events

20th May 2020 - EEAA to lead Global Exhibitions Day 2020

14th May 2020 - Business Events Council of Australia delivers COVIDSafe guidelines to government

8th May 2020 - EEAA calls on governments to expedite restart date for domestic business events

23rd March 2020 - ICC Sydney looks to the future as Coronavirus halts convention centres business

5th March 2020 - Workplace equality promoted at EEAA 2020 International Women’s Day Breakfast

27th February 2020 - EEAA to explore workplace equality in celebration of International Women’s Day 2020

21st January 2020 - EEAA appoints Claudia Sagripanti as Chief Executive

25th October 2019 - ICC Sydney sets global safety standard

9th May 2018 - Ungerboeck a double winner at Meetings and Events Australia annual awards

7th May 2018 - Meetings and Events Australia National Conference opens at Adelaide Convention Centre

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