Opinion: The show must go on


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Talk2 Media & Events chief executive officer, Matt Pearce, shares his hope for the year ahead.

Matt Pearce.

Talk2 Media & Events chief executive officer, Matt Pearce, shares his hope for the year ahead.

The optimism of November and December and the sense that Business Events were bouncing back seemed to evaporate over the holiday break. Large numbers of Omicron cases dampened confidence and uncertainty set in. 

Then many of us realised, this time it’s different.

Last year we were trying to wrap our heads around COVID. Now 12 months on, many of us have received our vaccination and learnt how to safeguard ourselves, our families and our work colleagues. Whilst we understand that we must be respectful of COVID, we are learning to let go of the fears that have debilitated so many and live in a post-pandemic world.

In the business events industry, the confidence rollercoaster continues to take us for a ride.

In the last 10 days, we’ve seen events move from January and February to later in the year. As all event planners can appreciate, it’s an agonising decision. The fears of 2020 and 2021 haunt us and push against the desire to move forward. At some point though, we must be willing to challenge our fears, and the environment around us, and be willing to make strong, informed decisions.

The team at AIME has gone through this and come through it confident that we can run a successful and safe event in March at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). The MCEC building has superior ventilation compared to most buildings. They have a Venue Safe Plan that has been signed off by the Victorian Health Department. And we have secured ample space for AIME which allows us to manage any density restrictions. 

I expect Rapid Antigen Tests to become commonplace, and we will have a supply on hand for all AIME attendees. The bottom line is, we have the infrastructure, we have the understanding, and we now have respect for, rather than fear of the virus. Armed with these three things, we have reason to be confident.

We also understand the role AIME plays in helping to kickstart our industry. We don’t take that responsibility lightly. We have spoken to our exhibitors, and many hosted buyers. The sentiment is ‘the show must go on’ and I couldn’t agree more!

We are looking forward to the industry reuniting for the first time since AIME 2020. And while there will be plenty of war stories to be shared, the time has come for us to put the past two years behind us and celebrate the return of business events.

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