Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) has postponed Evolve, its flagship conference for event professionals, until 2022.
The decision to move the annual conference, which was due to take place in Melbourne in September was made due to the ongoing challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisers are unable to guarantee the safety of delegates, speakers and partners.
The postponement was detailed as New South Wales state premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that Australia is in the “worst situation” it has been in since the start of the pandemic.
While infection and mortality rates from Covid-19 remain low in Australia compared to the worst-hit nations including the US and UK, cases are climbing and lockdowns and curfews in Melbourne and Sydney remain in place.
MEA CEO Peter McDonald said: “In the interests of all stakeholders, MEA believes the best option is to reschedule Evolve to a time when immunised population target levels are expected. By doing so, we are reinforcing the significance of meeting in person.
McDonald continued: “MEA has made every possible effort to bring that to fruition in 2021. However, current government pandemic management restrictions right across our country, and the potential for their extension, make the risk of staging the event on 8 September too high.”
However, the Evolve Awards will take place virtually on 22 September. “The MEA Board believes it is important to keep a positive focus wherever possible,” MEA chair Nigel Collin said.
“The 2020 MEA National Awards is an opportunity where we can do that. We look forward to celebrating the success of all finalists and winners and recognising outstanding performance despite the adversity the world faced last year.”
Registered delegates will automatically have their registration transferred to the rescheduled event, and options with respect to obtaining a refund have been advised.
A desire to travel led Holly Patrick to the business meetings and events world and she’s never looked back. Holly takes a particular interest in event sustainability and creating a diverse and inclusive industry. When she’s not working, she can be found rolling skating along Brighton seafront listening to an eclectic playlist, featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Sean Paul, and Arooj Aftab.