The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has made an urgent call to Federal and State Governments to distinguish exhibitions and business events from mass gatherings to expedite a restart date for domestic events in the Australian market.

Claudia Sagripanti, EEAA Chief Executive said that it was vitally important that Government, at both the Federal and State level understood that the business events industry can operate under a controlled set of ‘bio-safe’ principles and should not be subject to the ‘mass gathering’ restrictions that apply to other large scale public events such as sporting fixtures, festivals large-scale consumer events.

“The business events industry run highly organised events where we can trace every one of our visitors, delegates, speakers and exhibitors as well as monitor, track and put in place a range of measures that can ensure these events comply with Government measures on hygiene and physical distancing,” said Ms Sagripanti.

“The business events industry, which includes exhibitions, conferences and business meetings contributes $35 billion to the national economy, with another $17.2 billion in value add and employs over 229,000 people across a range of sectors and trades. The re-opening of this important sector will support the Government’s objective to implement work safe guidelines to get Australian’s back to work. It is of vital importance to ensure that Governments understand the role business events plays in restarting the economy,” said Ms Sagripanti.

The EEAA together with the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA)along with other major industry associations including the Venue Management Association (VMA) is developing Safety and hygiene principles for the Government and Health officials and the business events community. The principles will support stringent public health guidelines to manage exhibitions, conferences, meetings and events and ensure exhibitors, speakers, attendees, customers and venue/contractor employees are safe.

The EEAA is recommending that Governments provide a clear timetable on when the business events industry can restart. The planning cycle for exhibitions and events is of paramount importance require adequate lead-time for planning and implementation.

“The sector needs support now with a clear timetable on when we can run events – August/September and the last quarter of 2020 is vital to recovery, but the industry needs a confirmed date to commence planning,” said Ms Sagripanti.

An August restart allows government and the health authorities further time to ensure the state’s COVID numbers continue to decrease and stabilise and to enable an agreed Bio-Safe environment for our controlled and organised events where the business community comes to do business,” said Ms Sagripanti.

The EEAA has been in talks with all State Governments and the Chief Medical Officers in each state this week to negotiate the restart terms for the exhibitions and business events industry.

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has lobbied at the Federal level to ensure a consistent and clear message regarding the distinction between business events and mass gatherings is achieved nationally.

The business events sector contributes more than $35 billion in GDP, runs over 430,000 events annually and employs more than 229,000 people. The sector is a major contributor to Australia both financially and for its powerful enabling ability to deliver practical business outcomes,” said Ms Sagripanti.