The global events industry has entered recalibration mode as it rebounds from a two-year COVID induced hiatus which has forced it to re-examine its future operation strategies and human resource challenges, the Middle East Event Show & Awards 2022 has heard.
The show, which connects the Middle East MICE and live events industry, took place at the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai over June 15 and 16 with more than 70 innovative exhibitors and uniting over 2500 event and entertainment industry professionals with two days of interactive learning, connections, and collaboration.
More than 50 industry leaders took to the event’s seminar stages to address emerging sector challenges including the need for greater sustainability through the creation of carbon neutral events with NetZero builds, slow technology adoption, inclusivity in the workplace and the likely impact of the emergence of the Metaverse.
Dan Bolton, Owner & Director, BE Experiential & Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency said the turbulent COVID times had made future workforces address the very ethos of the industry and the sector now needed to address mounting concerns over sector sustainability.
“As employers, we must be more transparent, authentic and communicative in how we perceive what we ask of our employees, since the wants and needs of the industry are rapidly changing,” he said. “The way to engage, manage, hire, retain and grow people needs to be more empathetic. Culturally, too, event industry employers need to move away from ‘virtual’ and focus on reconnecting with their employees in person.”
“The industry is youthful in its essence; and we all have to come together and hire across the spectrum – with age, gender, race, and nationality not being an impediment in hiring processes. The industry is dynamic now and rapidly changing – we need to approach growth through an inclusive and optimistic lens.”
The event threw up a consensus that the Metaverse virtual capabilities would impact the industry, but its effect could be up to almost a decade away. Sujoy Cherian, Founder & CEO, Option1 Events said technology could not be leveraged without consideration of its customer uptake and economic impact.
“The advancements in wearables, mobile technologies, and the way people interact and engage with each other is constantly evolving, and before we roll out an AR/VR solution, we need to research and acknowledge the consumer’s ability to adopt this technology.
“Moreover, sustainability agendas are crucial. Underpinned by a need for there to be an added focus on being part of a circular economy with an emphasis on hiring more locally to minimise one’s carbon footprint.”
Cherian said the industry did however need strong public sector support to navigate increasing regulatory demands; “On a governmental level, we need to offer event companies incentives whilst simultaneously investing in infrastructure that allows for recycling that can be brought to life by governmental mandates that promote NetZero or carbon neutral events. Today, latent costs across the region to fulfil sustainable mandates are sky high. Renting infrastructure at scale can also be actively pursued to offset carbon costs,” he said.
Culminating on day two of the event, over 800 event industry leaders will join the much-anticipated Middle East Event Awards 2022 ceremony in the Madinat Jumeirah’s spectacular Johara Ballroom to acknowledge the dedication and success of the Middle East’s pioneering event planners and organisers, teams, and companies.
Alan Kelly, Commercial & Strategy Director of show organiser Informa Connect, said the staging of the 13th Annual Middle East Event Show and Awards, an event by the industry for the industry, will usher in a new era underpinned by remarkable resilience.
“The awards are extra special this year as we honour the region’s visionaries who have overcome recent challenges and continued to thrive as a pillar of the region’s economy, pushing the boundaries of sustainability, innovation, and economic growth.
The awards, adjudicated by an international panel of thought leaders have given industry forerunners a unique opportunity to be recognised for their contribution to the growth of the regional economy with their pioneering use of innovative technology, sustainability initiatives and exemplary practises.
The exhibition this year is an ode to the resilience of the industry and the determination, drive and passion to deliver excellence, and we are honoured to have had the opportunity to offer this platform.”