More than 5000 events have been cancelled, some companies have laid off staff, and others are considering their future due to Covid-19 restrictions.
A survey by the New Zealand Events Association (NZEA) showed a “dramatic deterioration” of the sector.
Even before the alert level 4 lockdown came into effect, the sector was reeling with the loss of all revenue.
As a result, some companies, such as Dinamics Destination Management, have gone into liquidation or were considering exiting the events industry due to its uncertain future, NZEA general manager Segolene de Fontenay said.
In addition to the 5000 cancelled events, a further 3393 events had been postponed indefinitely with another potential 5000 to follow in the next six months.
“As a consequence, hundreds of full-time equivalents have already been lost or projected to be lost from the sector in the coming months with businesses reporting a gross profit loss of approximately $100m,” de Fontenay said.
“The numbers will only worsen if the lockdown period extends further than the four weeks initially announced.”
While the Government’s financial support is a start, the majority of respondents say that it is not enough to save the industry, de Fontenay said.
“We need both short and medium-term targeted Government support for these operators urgently, or we simply might not have these essential events that inject millions into the economy and other industries post Covid-19.
“With business events alone contributing around half a billion dollars per annum to the country’s economy, many in the industry wonder what it would take for the Government to recognise the industry’s plight.”
In addition to an extension of the 12-week wage subsidy scheme, the sector was seeking immediate financial assistance with overheads costs, rent freezes on commercial properties and tax relief.
New Zealand National Fieldays Society chief executive Peter Nation said that as soon as mass gatherings of more than 500 people were prohibited, Mystery Creek Events Centre, which held 114 events last year, went to zero income.
Fieldays, which is held annually in June and generates $500m in sales and more than 2000 jobs, was postponed for the first time in 51 years.
Large events such as Fieldays required months of lead time to attract sponsors and exhibitors, promotion and ticket sales.
“With no certainty around when events can be re-booked and how public gatherings will be treated by the Government, sponsors are likely to be cautious with their investments,” said Nation.
“Consumers too will need to overcome their own financial hardships as well as health concerns around attending large public gatherings again.”
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