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Virus wiping $2.5bn off Australia’s events sector every month

The cancellation of business events due to the coronavius outbreak is wiping $2.5bn off the Australian economy every month, according to new figures from an industry body.

The necessity of shutting down gatherings has effectively shut down the country’s business events sector, and the results have been dire, according to Business Events Council Australia.

According to the group, business events are the highest yielding component of the visitor economy and switching it off takes $2.5 billion from the economy every month.

This, BECA says, is equivalent to the value of the entire cruise industry every two months.

Australia’s business events sector employs more than 193,000 and runs 430,000 events every year, including thousands of national and international association meetings.

Even before Australian Governments took decisions to limit gatherings of people, many companies had begun cancelling travel and postponing face-to-face events.

The business events sector had seen a massive reduction in revenue across the entirety of quarter one 2020 and as of this week, revenue is zero.

Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia, Dr Vanessa Findlay, said: “The business events sector is reliant on the tourism supply chain including venues, accommodation, transport, event organiser, exhibition, catering, audio visual, decorator, and entertainment businesses and more – most of which are small and medium enterprises.

“We know that these businesses are at immediate risk of closing their doors, some already have, and most have had to let go casual staff and are processing redundancies for the majority of their full and part time staff now. It is dire situation for the sector, for the nation, for the world.

The BECA Board is meeting today (Monday 23rd) to take the next steps on the development of the Business Events Sector Sustainment Plan. This plan will form the basis of the sectors management and response to the coronavirus – covering the immediate needs of industry through to recovery. There is no greater focus for BECA and its member associations right now than ensuring the survival of our sector.