Covid-19 is still creating havoc across Australia and with social distancing measures not being lifted any time soon, the Australian Gift and Homewares Association (AGHA) has decided to postpone its Melbourne Gift Fair.
The fair was scheduled to take place 1 to 5 August 2020 at the Melbourne Convention and exhibition Centre, however, after lengthy consultation with all stakeholders, the AGHA board has made the difficult decision to postpone the gift fair.
“As the peak industry body and your association, it is our responsibility to do what is right by our members and the industry. We have been working tirelessly with key industry stakeholders and the government to assess the ongoing implications that the COVID-19 situation may have on the viability of the 2020 AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair,” says the AGHA in a statement.
“This decision has not been taken lightly. As an industry association, being cognisant of the money still to be invested by both exhibitors and visitors in attending the fair it would be irresponsible to wait until the last minute to make this decision.
“Whilst we remain positive that the pandemic will disappear later this year and business can return to some level of normality, we are not confident that the implications will be resolved for some time and do not believe the industry is in a position to go ahead with a 2020 event.”
Indeed, the gift fair hosts tens of thousands of participants including exhibitors, visitors, suppliers and staff and social distancing restrictions would make it very difficult to hold an event of that magnitude.
“There is still great uncertainty as to whether the government will permit mass gatherings and trade events and even if they can go ahead, what level of restrictions will apply,” states the AGHA.
Also, many wholesalers and retailers are currently in hibernation and experiencing extreme financial stress. Many have expressed that they will not be in a position to exhibit or attend the event.
However, AGHA is looking at other opportunities to support the industry in this difficult time including organising smaller state-based trade and consumer facing events later in the year if conditions allow so, and an online marketplace solution for AGHA members is being explored.
The next gift fair in Sydney will be held from 19 to 22 February 2021.