Did Covid place an End Card to in-person Business Events?
Karthikeyan U  Thursday, Jul 9, 2020

The global landscape has been heavily disrupted due to the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19 and almost every industry has been impacted due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The business event industry which contributes $1.5 trillion to the global economy is not an exception to the situation and it is almost closed for the last few months.

Event industry’s contribution to the global economy:

The business events industry generates $1.07 trillion in direct spending along with the induced impact like travel, accommodation, and others related to business events, it contributes to $2.5 trillion of business sales output, which is more than many leading sectors like consumer electronics, office equipment, etc. The business events industry supports a direct 10.3 million jobs and 25.9 million total jobs inclusive of the indirect contribution.

Source: Events Industry Council

What lies ahead is a trillion-dollar question?

The whole world is busy finding the cure for the coronavirus and the business world is clueless at this point on whats ahead post the recovery. What lies ahead will vary for each industry but it is evident that the business events industry has all the threats to be worried about the future

High risk of health and safety due to the nature of the events industry as social distancing is challenging. The primary essence of events is gathering which is a threat to the spread of coronavirus The events industry induces travel, people even travel across the globe to attend important events, which is a greater threat to the spread of coronavirus.

The emergence of virtual or online events:

There is been a lot of speculation around virtual events as the future of the business events industry through the emergence of tech tools like vFAIR and Hopin to conduct virtual or online events. According to Eventbrite, the online business events have grown exponentially by over 1100% in April 2020 compared to April 2019. The adoption of technology in any industry is inevitable but if virtual or online events are the future of the business events industry, there will be threats of loss of jobs, a decrease in the sales output, etc which will have an impact on the global economy.

What does history have to offer?

Covid-19 is a serious threat to the whole world which was declared by the WHO as a pandemic but this is not the first time that the world has witnessed an epidemic or a pandemic. There are over 70 outbreaks reported since 2000, a few are below

  • Dengue epidemic in the year 2019 resulted in around 4K death toll
  • US flu season (Influenza) in the year 2017-18 resulted in around 61K death toll
  • Ebola virus epidemic in the years 2013-2016 resulted in around 12K death toll
  • Swine flu pandemic in the year 2009-10 resulted over 550K death toll

Overall there were over 260 outbreaks reported and the major ones are

  • Hong Kong flu in the years 1968-70 resulted in around 4M death toll
  • Smallpox in the years 1877-1977 resulted in around 500M death toll
  • Spanish flu pandemic in the years 1918-20 resulted in around 100M death toll

Source: Wikipedia

It is evident from the above cases that the world did recover from many epidemics and pandemics. The business world has continued to function in a normal way post-recovery. So the world would recover from COVID pandemic too and eventually, the business events industry would resume its normalcy.