From the Chair: 15 June 2022

By Michael Firman, MEA Chairman


Can you believe we are almost at the end of yet another financial year? How fast the year has gone, although the older I get the faster the years seem to go. The reality is, the events industry is enjoying a stronger than expected start to 2022 after two years of little to no inactivity.

While recovery has come in the form of incredible demand, this positive growth has arrived with a whole new set of challenges and uncertainties. Increased demand is occurring at a time when the sector faces severe skills and labour shortages. Rising inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine is adding pressure to existing economic uncertainties as well as a constrained supply chain.

Tourism has also continued to recover at a strong pace. Another long weekend has seen a continued surge in travel around the country as Australians are exploring their own backyards more than ever. After years of lockdowns, cancellations and postponements, it seems Australians are ready to get back to spending and make up for lost time.

Even so, it is now estimated that 310,000 staff have been lost from the travel, tourism, accommodation, hospitality and events sectors since March 2020 meaning workforce shortages are being felt more acutely against the backdrop of pent-up demand.

It’s been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’, the trend of a significant number of workers leaving their jobs because of the pandemic. The pandemic had given people time to pause, reflect and reassess what is important to them, in particular in their work-life-balance.

Now, against the backdrop of staff shortages and new economic realities, employers will be forced to lead a new trend, ‘The Great Retention’. This new trend provides an opportunity for employers to find ways to attract and retain staff by ensuring there is good communication and a positive working environment.

Another emerging trend for our industry is the growing focus on sustainability, environmental impact and ethical purchasing. Sustainability and environmental consciousness is driving consumer behaviour with consumers engaging more and more with organisations that behave ethically in their interactions. Sustainability is a key factor that most organisations in our industry now strive to achieve.

These are big issues for our industry, and just some of the questions that will be explored at Evolve 2022 by some of our most accomplished industry leaders. Learn about leadership, change, resilience and new event tech, amongst some of the many challenges we face in a brave new world.

Evolve will take place over 29-30 June in Melbourne, proudly supported by major partners Melbourne Convention Bureau, Accor and EventsAIR. The education program will include a blend of plenary sessions and breakout streams across three pillars: Building Confidence, Best Practice and Future Leaders. The speakers are a mix of industry leaders, experts and innovators from other industries with great messages offering lateral learning to delegates. There’s only two weeks to go, so book your tickets now!

Upcoming Events

29 Jun
Sofitel Melbourne On Collins, VIC
4 Aug
Sofitel Brisbane Central, QLD