With restrictions lifted and people encouraged to return to their workplaces, it is now time for Victoria to get back to business. At the forefront of this drive is the resumption of Victoria’s robust business events sector.
Today the Hon Martin Pakula, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, met with senior representatives of the industry associations, Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia (EEAA), Meeting and Events Australia (MEA) and Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) and leaders from the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre and the Melbourne Convention Bureau to discuss short term and long term measures to accelerate the re-start of this vital sector.
Pre-COVID, business events contributed over $12 billion to the Victorian economy and employed
85,000 Victorians. Whilst the sector has been severely impacted over the past 2 years, the focus has now firmly shifted to supporting the return of conferences and exhibitions to the city and regions, resulting in the creation of jobs and a significant economic contribution to the State.
The recent Victorian Government announcement that tickets for conferences and exhibitions are included in the $30 million rebate scheme being offered to Victorian consumers was warmly welcomed by the industry groups and they look forward to engaging further with the Government in relation to the details of the scheme. The industry groups went on to note “Now is the time to conduct or attend a meeting, conference or exhibition in the coming weeks and months, not only to commercially benefit the participant and their organisation but the broader Victorian economy and business event community”.
The recent lifting of further restrictions was also welcomed by the industry which has demonstrated business events can be conducted safely and effectively with COVID-safe measures in place, that don’t compromise the experience. The sector has seen a number of large conferences and exhibitions return over recent weeks to Victoria, with strong exhibitor and patron attendance further buoying industry confidence.
As businesses return to their workplaces, the industry groups emphasised the strategic and commercial benefit of corporate and association events and strongly encouraged businesses and their employees to participate in face to face engagement. Gathering in a professional business environment at events is crucial to knowledge sharing, professional development, trade relations and the creation of valuable connections and relationships. Business events facilitate state and national interactions in our city and our regions whilst attracting international participation given our borders are open to the world again.
The industry groups detailed the positive, wide reaching direct economic impact that business events provide the network of suppliers including but not limited to venues, hotels, airlines, organisers, food and beverage suppliers, speakers, technicians, exhibition specialists and transportation providers contributing to the sustainability of these organisations and the professionals they employ.
As the business events sector looks towards a strong future, attention is focused on addressing the immediate talent shortages. It is an opportune time for prospective employees to join this vibrant and dynamic industry across a diverse range of roles including event planning, event operations and delivery, audio visual production, business development and marketing. The industry reiterated that stakeholders are focused on retaining seasoned event professionals whilst welcoming new talent and skills to the sector to secure its ongoing success. The industry groups are engaged with the State Government in relation to short and long term strategies to assist in rebuilding this valued workforce.