The latest Victorian outbreak has started to have real bite and again the exhibition and event industry is left in disarray, with many on the brink of closure, yet there seems to be no recognition of the dire situation from our industry bodies, nor the Government, and I sound like a broken record wondering what it’s going take?
Not only has the recent break out in Victoria specifically caused numerous shows to be postponed or completely cancelled in July and August, there is also a lack of clarity around occupancy numbers if they do run.
But the Victorian Government decision to take two bays in the MCEC until the end of the year at least, and the whole of REB, has compounded and gutted the industry.
This ridiculous picture includes companies who have received Government event support grants and now can’t spend it. Is the Government requesting it back so other shows can benefit? This seems to have a cloud of mystery around it.
And now the impact is being felt across other states, despite there being no local cases, because the Victorian Chief Health Officer won’t announce no community transfer. In Queensland and other states (excluding the sensible state of NSW) exhibitions are now being postponed or cancelled as a direct result, so the knock affect is HUGE… does any State Government actually get it?
And Queensland seems to want to put school holiday tourism revenue at risk to keep a perfect score by closing for every school holiday break. One is left thinking if all Victorians were issued with a football would they be allowed to enter, as there seems to be two rules! This may be on the surface sarcasm; however it is far too close to the truth.
Contractors are scrambling to reduce costs while keeping staff, and they are now becoming a rare asset we can’t afford to lose.
For organisers it’s a bit like a skit from Abbott and Costello of “who’s on first, no he is on second“, they in most cases have pre spent money to promote a show, then they spend money to advise it’s been moved, then they spend more money to promote the new dates! This is not sustainable for the industry.
Having a consumer show open today at the GCCEC we have seen there is demand from the public and we play such an important role of bringing people together, it’s a shame we keep being torn apart due to actions of people in government on FULL pay while we bleed money daily.
And in perspective whilst the US still have covid cases they, through a solid vaccine roll out, have resumed exhibitions with NO RESTRICTIONS in Las Vegas, Florida and Miami and will next month open up New York. In Australia we have been blessed in many ways but now we are tipping the scales the other way and instead of leading the exhibition industry globally by what we have in place the tail of the dog is wagging the dog, surely we are better than this?
It’s just my view but isn’t it time we all became united with a much louder voice to have a dedicated minister who not only understands but fights for us?