SAEC reviews ‘a year of change’
Tuesday, 25 May 2021
saeventsThe SA Events Council has collaborated on various measures to re-open the industry
South Africa - The South Africa Events Council has published its review of the past year. “The SA Events Council is fighting to retain the headway we have made towards re-opening the events industry before the losses we are suffering reach a point of no return,” says the council.
“For 14 months, the associations that make up the SA Events Council have collaborated on various measures to re-open the industry. We have developed a stringent set of ‘Re-opening Guidelines’, sent scores of lobbying letters and hosted in-person, proof-of-concept events to show what is possible. We have also conducted awareness campaigns, hosted webinars, organised radio and television Interviews, provided information sessions and engaged with the various relevant government entities in person.”
As one of the first responders to the crisis, SACIA's Event Safety Council developed and disseminated the back-to-work guidelines, which set the parameters for a safe re-opening of the events industry. This development was the catalyst for the industry to start providing solutions for the re-opening of events.
A host of advocacy letters to Hon. Minister Kubayi-Ngubani, the Department of Tourism, Hon. Minister Mthethwa, the Department of Sports Arts and Culture and the Hon. Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, followed. These made a case for business events versus social events, called for re-opening and relaxations of the capacity limitation restrictions, requested assistance from financial institutions and the extension of TERS, sought clarification of regulations at each new Alert Level and drew attention to lack of safety enforcement on non-compliant rallies and other events.
Over the same period, the SAEC held four proof-of-concept events. The Proof of Concept Conference specifically targeted conferencing stakeholders. Reignite your Business educated the corporate sector and the Restart Expo showcased the safe future of exhibitions to the Government, industry, media, PCO's, exhibitors and visitors. By the end of 2020, with the advent of rapid testing technology, Recharge 2020 demonstrated how rapid antigen testing builds confidence and mitigates risk when used in conjunction with the Re-opening Protocols and secure Health Passport Europe mobile technology.
Despite the SAEC drive to inform and prepare the industry, some organisers outside of the SAEC Associations continued to host events that disregarded the safety guidelines and resulted in a viral spread, further jeopardising our chances of re-opening. In these instances, the Council drew government attention to the transgressions, laid charges with SAPs against the organisers and called for stricter enforcement from policing bodies.
The various awareness campaigns mounted over the past year received tremendous support from the industry.
#LightSARed on 5 August 2020 saw 505 landmark buildings, event spaces and warehouses across the country light up in emergency red to show solidarity with the events industry's plight. This campaign also managed to secure the events and exhibitions sector a "seat at the table", allowing elected leaders from the events industry to engage with the Government for the first time on ways of re-opening the sector safely and quickly.
The Council has worked hard to highlight the ongoing crisis through dozens of interviews across radio and television and has kept the industry informed via in-person participation in professionally managed events and webinars.

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