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22% of event businesses have lost all revenue, government urged to confirm restart date

Twenty-two percent of event management companies fear they have lost between 91%-100% of their revenue as a result of the impact of Covid-19, according to an employer survey carried out by ESP Recruitment in association with Conference News and sister title Exhibition News.

The results come the same week that the European Major Exhibition Centres Association have demanded an events industry start date of 1 September from European governments in order to save the sector.

Conference News publisher Mash Media is urging the UK government to listen to its #GetBritainMeeting campaign and provide a start date for the events industry.

Those businesses supplying event services and production agencies have also suffered, with 9% of each both reporting near total-loss of revenue.

However, of all the event sectors, event management companies remain the hardest hit, with 29% reporting losses of between 61% and 80% and 19% reporting losses of between 41% to 60%. Thirty-eight percent of service suppliers and production both report losses between 81% and 90%.

Venues have also suffered severe losses, with 6% reporting near total revenue losses. Twenty-nine percent report losses of between 81% and 90%.

The results, which come from 1,100 respondents, are mirrored by the impact on event buyers, with 33% of in-house corporates reporting between 91% and 100% loss of budget. A similar amount (33%), however, report that they have only lost between 21% and 40% of their budgets.

Liz Sinclair, director at ESP Recruitment, and who collated the results, noted her shock at the figures. She said: “In 20 years of running ESP Recruitment and during the time I worked in events, I have never seen stats like these before, even during the recession. 

“It is very hard to see a whole industry put on hold without a date to resume. 

“There is always discussion about the hospitality industry by the government, but the events industry is never mentioned, when its revenue is around £70bn [according to the Business Visits and Events Partnership] and employs over half a million event professionals. 

“It is time for the government to make some decisions, so that we as an industry can start doing what we do best, planning.”

The Business Visits and Events Partnership has said that the government's guidance for the reopening of the events industry will be published towards the end of June 2020.