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Survey shows how event organisers can bounce back from the Coronavirus impact

Survey shows how event organisers can bounce back from the Coronavirus impact
March 23, 2020

A just completed survey of event managers is revealing the kind of support Australian events and festivals believe they will need to survive the cancellation or postponement of their events as required by the ban on public gatherings designed to halt the spread of Coronavirus.

Conducted last week, the survey shows that half of event organisers (57%) believe a Government support package for the sector would be the most realistic solution to assist their event to bounce back after the COVID-19 crisis.

The survey also shows that while only 5% of event organisers predict their event will go bankrupt and be lost forever, a further 30% are unsure how their events will survive.

The survey, run jointly by regional tourism consultancy TIlma Group and event management trainer rEVENTS Academy, was conducted among event organisers who host events of fewer than 5,000 attendees in a regional or rural community.

As of 5pm on Sunday 22nd March, 95 Australian event managers had completed the survey.

Further findings from the survey show that 36% of respondents have cancelled their 2020 event or postponed until 2021, while 20% will postpone their event to later in 2020.

28% are waiting for further information before deciding their course of action.  

Only half of respondents (55%) predict their event will find a way to survive and bounce back in 2021.

70% will lose up to $100,000 by cancelling or postponing their event. 22% will lose up to $500,000, and 5% will lose up to $1 million, with a couple of events losing several million dollars.  

Commenting on the issues that events face, a spokesperson for the TIlma Group advised that with significant costs being incurred prior to events being held, “depending on what stage event planning is up to, events could have spent the majority of their budget without yet earning any revenue.”

Tilma Group advised that even for events who purchased event cancellation insurance, they will not receive any compensation because pandemics are not covered by insurance.

Further to the loss to events directly is the economic loss to the regional host communities on top of the impact of bushfires and severe drought when they particularly need the economic and social stimulus that events provide. 63% of survey respondents estimate their community will lose up to $1 million in economic benefit from the loss of their event, while 29% estimate up to $5 million. One event manager estimates up to $13 million will be lost by communities across the Outback region their attendees travel through.  

39% of respondents will refund pre-purchased tickets in order to look after their customers and protect their reputation, despite the lack of clarity around refund legalities.  

With half of event organisers backing a Government support package for the sector, while 28% believe a combination of Government support and widespread support from ticketholders such as ticketholders holding onto their tickets until the event is next held would allow them to bounce back in 2021.  

Image: Performance at the Shepparton Festival.

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