Business events industry facing “total dislocation” without JobKeeper extension: BECA

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has warned the industry will face financial ruin without an extension of the federal government’s JobKeeper arrangement.

Across the business events industry, the necessary cancellation of events has seen a near 100 per cent loss of revenue.

According to research by Ernst & Young, the total lost value for the business events industry over the next 12 months is estimated at $35.7 billion, with staffing losses across the industry estimated at over 92,000 by the end of June 2020.

BECA chair Dr Vanessa Findlay said that until new business events are being planned, booked and providing cashflow to businesses, the industry is largely unable to maintain its large workforce when unsupported.

“Without government support, the business events industry is not just facing a hiatus – it is facing a total dislocation and complete loss,” she said.

“We would be facing a total rebuild of an industry from the ground up. We are uncertain whether we will ever get back to being able to compete globally if this situation transpires.”

To aid the recovery of the Australian business events industry, the BECA has called for targeted government support for the business events workforce and businesses.

The BECA has developed a business events ‘Recovery and Rebound Framework’ that identifies key challenges facing the industry and gaps that are not alleviated or solved by the government’s existing stimulus and support measures.

It has also been designed with the belief that although the market for business events will be forever changed, the new world of business events will see a surge in demand driven by a renewed premium on in-person contact for governments, businesses and associations.

“As an industry, we want to emerge from the crisis in a position to help build business confidence across the Australian economy and, when the time is right, grow Australia’s share of global events in what will be a highly competitive and disrupted market,” Findlay said.

The overarching principle of the Recovery and Rebound Framework is to support the wellbeing of the business events industry’s workforce and businesses through the crisis, and to emerge together, ready to take on the new world of business events.

The recovery phase of the framework addresses the short- and medium-term needs of the industry with a focus on the domestic situation and market.

The rebound phase follows with a medium- to long-term focus on regional and global markets to position the industry to take advantage of new opportunities.

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