Stock - Gitex 2021 (Start ups)
The events industry is back into stellar growth mode - but it could be higher if there was access to more funding. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

COVID-19, beyond affecting the aviation and cruise industries, significantly decimated the global events market. Pre-pandemic estimates suggest the industry would have scaled a growth of 11.5 per cent a year.

Large-scale conferences not only provided companies with a forum to display their latest and build on opportunities, they were a major source of employment for event organizers as well as myriad stakeholders from truckers to ticket-sellers, caterers to crews, sound and lighting technicians to hospitality operators.

As we make our way towards the post-pandemic world, we are seeing in-person events coming back. Industry stats show that the global events industry is poised for growth comeback and is expected to be a $2 trillion industry by the end of this decade.

Dubai was one of the first cities to bring back in-person events as trade fairs, conferences and exhibitions have long been an important part of the business cycle. The rapid PCR testing, thorough sanitization drives and the aggressive vaccine rollout have played a critical role in a an emerging post-Covid restart.

On October 1, the world witnessed Dubai unveiling the Expo. This was done in keeping with the highest safety standards for global audiences to converge and exchange ideas. On the back of this mega event, we are seeing concerts, music festivals, sport events, exhibitions, seminars and others making a return. This momentum clearly spells the need for a robust structure and systematic support to ensure that events industry, which has substantial growth potential and thick profit margins, can thrive.

Scarcity of funding support

The question here is why does such a critical industry lack proper funding? It is obvious that events need to run like a well-oiled machine, with many complementary parts running seamlessly on a large scale. From concept to execution, there are multiple value chains.

The only way events can function properly is through proper financial resources in place. At a national level, launching an ‘events bank’ or crypto based initiative of sorts will be beneficial to support the industry and spur innovation in this space. Interestingly, 2.3 billion people in the region can be catered to effectively with all kinds of events through an events bank.

This bank or fund will have the opportunity to support and build the next growth engine for the economy. A good starting point can be developing a financial framework that can enable events of different scales, types, and categories.

Deploy tech

Another area of focus should lie within the tech space. Today, the use of AI, virtual reality and mass conferencing dominate the events industry. Virtual events grew very fast during the pandemic - and it is expected to grow even faster at 23.7 per cent until 2028 to reach $504.76 billion.

In the Middle East, developing critical infrastructure to develop novel concepts, foster digital innovation and create diverse multimedia platforms can help improve efficiencies within the sector…

Much of the event world’s success depends on governments, organizers and other stakeholders coming together to find actionable solutions. The success of this industry can create jobs and lift economies…