As the situation regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and impact our industry, we wanted to provide an update in relation to the upcoming 2020 AGHA Melbourne 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.
After lengthy consultation with all stakeholders, the AGHA Board has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair that was scheduled to take place 1-5 August at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC). AGHA will continue to keep you updated on future developments regarding all our events.
The following concerns and circumstances relating to COVID-19 played a major role in this decision:
AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair hosts tens of thousands of participants including exhibitors, visitors, suppliers and staff and we are concerned for the health, well-being and safety of all participants, during what will be a challenging time for the whole country.
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.
It is likely that international and domestic travel restrictions and stay at home quarantine will still be in place for some considerable time.
Many businesses, both wholesale and retail, 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.
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.
We believe the sector will bounce back and AGHA expects our 2021 events including the Sydney Gift Fair (19-22 February 2021) and the Melbourne Gift Fair (31 July–4 August 2021) will be very successful events. The wider team is already hard at work preparing for the 2021 events and will continue to provide updates in due course.
In the meantime, AGHA will continue to look at opportunities to assist members in supporting their businesses, 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. Watch this space!
We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the exhibitors, buyers and service providers who have been constantly supportive to the AGHA.