25.9 Mn jobs from the $1,000 industry have been directly impacted at a global level
The industry incurred a loss of approximately $666 Mn by mid-March
Exhibitions and trade fairs alone account for up to 60,000 events in leading 11 countries
The entire spectrum of M.I.C.E (meetings-incentives-
The Global Outlook
Thousands of events that are categorized under 22 different categories were cancelled from early February as the spread of the virus started to accelerate globally. The first major shock came in the month of February when the most anticipated global event Mobile World Congress announced the cancellation of its 2020 edition.
By mid-march, it took a toll on the entire industry and we saw a 100% cancellation in all events across all the sectors. The industry incurred a loss of approximately $666 Mn and many event professionals personally witnessed a loss of employment.
The Indian Story
In India, a recent survey was done by EEMA (Events and Entertainment Management Association) that was shared with GoI and Ernst & Young suggests that the Indian events and exhibition sector is expected to take an INR 1 Tn hit as almost all big scale events across categories have been postponed or cancelled because of the outbreak.
According to the report, in India alone, the sectors account for the employment of 60 million people of which 10 million were directly affected due to the crisis
Impact Across Sectors
All corporate meetings, AGMs, partner meets, product launches, tech and non-tech conferences, seminars and association meets – all these are broadly categorized as “Business Events”. The impact of the cancellation of the business events was significantly intense and we do not predict a revival before the end of June, at the least. In fact, the events that were scheduled for the end of the year have already been postponed to 2021.
Exhibitions And Trade Fairs
Exhibitions and trade fairs alone account for up to 60,000 events in leading 11 countries. These events generally observe a huge gathering of buyers and sellers across all domains and provide heavy business to the venues and convention centres. These vendors will be the most affected amongst the MICE sector due to the coronavirus lockdown since a major portion of their earnings is through sponsorships and exhibitor participation.
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Sports, Entertainment And Tourism
Events that are organized to support tourism and regional business have called off their current year’s editions, and the most recent example of which is the Expo 2020, Dubai that was originally scheduled in October 2020.
This sector also witnessed the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics and other events like the Football leagues internationally and IPL nationally, who have also cancelled their 2020 edition.
These cancellations have resulted in huge losses for the sector considering the investment involved and the huge returns that are garnered from these events especially the IPL that generates revenue on a yearly basis.
Government norms will now regulate religious conferences, weddings, parties, festive gatherings and more. Organising these events is unlikely to begin before June/July, and then too there will be a mandatory requirement of multiple approvals which may involve a lot of paperwork hence leading to a restricted version of the originally planned event.
Let’s Look At Few Measures That Have Been Taken To Mitigate The Damage:
Corporates have been using video conference facilities for conducting internal meetings already, mostly with the intention of trying to run the operations effectively with due consideration to the ‘work from home’ initiative. Video conferencing solutions by Go-to-Webinar, Kaltura and Zoom have seen an unprecedented surge in demand.
Enterprises have now swiftly adopted the digitization of the physical events and have begun the transition of their conferences, summits, and product launches to a virtual platform. We already have seen current examples of MNC’s like Facebook and IBM working with virtual live conferences.
Hubilo’s Virtual Event Platform, for instance, already has 20 plus virtual conferences lined up until May, so do the other players like Bizzabo, Cvent, and Whova, who now have way more virtual events in their bank than they did earlier
In India Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) have urged the government to extend processes such as tax refunds, loan facilities for the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector and artistes to help reduce the negative impact on the livelihood of people involved in the entertainment and event space
At present, technology applications such as video-conferences, webinars, virtual (events, meetings) and others are playing their individual parts to try and keep the operations running, especially for the corporate segment.
In future, there might be an adoption of a hybrid approach which is a balance between offline and online events but we shall have a better understanding of this only two to three months down the line.