The Events Industry Council (EIC) in collaboration with Oxford Economics, published a report from its 2023 Global Economic Significance of Business Events study, which measures the full scope and economic significance of the USD 1.6 trillion global business events industry.
A press statement from EIC says that for the first time, EIC and Oxford Economics measured the critical role business events serve in areas like knowledge sharing, innovation and employee engagement — critical impacts that go well beyond direct event spending.
The latest study across 50 countries includes the important, and often overlooked, “catalytic” effects or wide-reaching benefits of business events hosted within destinations. A 2022 global survey of over 1,600 meeting professionals, exhibitors and venues reveal relationship-building, worker collaboration and business development are the most difficult outcomes to replace without meetings and events.
According to the study, event organisers ranked relationship management, awareness and new customers as the most important ways they measure the catalytic impacts of business events. 67 pc view building relationships through face-to-face interaction as most difficult to replace. As much as 22 pc of new customers are generated through in-person events. It also adds that the reduction of business events due to covid-19 led to significant loss of innovation, with 65 pc reporting a reduction in research and development prioritisation. Organisers believe an average of 44 pc of revenues would be lost without hosting in-person events, says the statement.
“Business events is a $1.6 USD trillion industry, with a GDP larger than many global economies. The economic significance of the global business events industry is immense, and so are its broader impacts. Events are a catalyst for meaningful change. Across industry sectors, organisations and individuals all gain in ways that are fundamental to advancement, innovation and adaptation to a changing world. The way we understand, measure and communicate the importance of business events is vital to showcasing its overall value,” says Amy Calvert, Events Industry Council CEO.
Global business events recover from covid-19 Impact
According to the statement, global commercial activity recovered significantly in 2022, reaching around 80 pc of pre-pandemic levels.
The recovery has been led by the Middle East, North America, and Central and Eastern Europe, with expenditure levels in these regions approaching 2019 levels by 2022 thanks in part to quicker travel recovery and normalisation of pandemic-related hazards.
The statement adds that while Asia, Western Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean have generally experienced a slower pace of recovery, these regions are expected to experience some of the strongest growth of any of the global regions. Adjusted for inflation, global event spending is forecast to approach 2019 levels by 2025.
“The industry has made significant strides to recover losses. Two-thirds of global direct business event spending was lost in 2020. The three-year cumulative lost sales total USD 1.9 trillion. When we embarked on this study, we knew getting a total picture of the global business events sector was critical for EIC’s advocacy efforts on behalf of its global membership. Now we have the data to show that the business events total GDP impact would rank as 13th largest global economy and recovery is well underway. The economic implications are massive” says Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company.
The study also suggests that business events will be increasingly important in building culture and engagement, at about 41 pc and will be used more to advance growth of individual employees 36 pc. Over time, many events are anticipated to adopt hybrid formats, as 40 pc of respondents suggest. While the size of business meetings or events is expected to decline in the short term (48 pc of respondents), only 10 pc agree this will be a long-term shift.