AGHA has been closely monitoring and considering the current situation and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the 2021 AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair.
Following a survey of all exhibitors and the ongoing uncertainty of random border closures and lockdowns by various State Governments, the Board of AGHA has made the very difficult decision to cancel the AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair to have been held at the MCEC July 31-August 4, 2021.
As the leading industry body in this sector it is incumbent on AGHA to do what is best for it’s Members and the Industry as a whole and to make this decision now is important. While there was a possibility that the Gift Fair could proceed, or potentially be postponed to September or October, the uncertainty of the ongoing spread of Covid-19 together with a strong reluctance by all participants to travel meant this was not viable or supported by the exhibitors and visitors.
The safety and well-being of all exhibitors, visitors, staff and contractors are paramount concerns to the Association and we believe that this is the only responsible course of action given the current circumstances.
The upcoming Melbourne Gift Fair was a sell-out and there was great excitement by everyone at prospect of face-to-face meetings once again. It is disappointing for everyone concerned that this is now the third consecutive Gift Fair to be cancelled.
The Melbourne Gift Fair Industry Catalogue is by far the best we have produced and despite the Fair being cancelled it will still be distributed to over 60,000 buyers in the next 2 weeks after floorplans and Fair related information is removed from the content.
As you will understand that due to Sydney being in lockdown that the office of AGHA is closed and all staff working from home where possible. AGHA will communicate directly with all our exhibitors over the next week and provide more details and information but we request your patience while the AGHA team work through all the details.
Whilst AGHA has been severely impacted by the cancellation of our last 3 Gift Fairs (in fact, AGHA has had almost no income since March 2020 – apart from JobKeeper allowances) we would like to reassure Members that the business is financially sound and will continue to deliver world class events for Members into the future. It is a credit to the AGHA team that despite almost no income for over 18 months, they have still managed to deliver on all Members services and continue to organise the AGHA Gift Fairs.
On a positive note, there is a great deal of interest (and bookings) already for the 2022 AGHA Sydney Gift Fair particularly now with the understanding that a large proportion of Australians will be vaccinated by then and life can return to some normality.
We would like to thank all our Members, exhibitors, visitors and staff for your ongoing understanding and support in these challenging times.
Stay safe and kind regards,
Michelle Lawson PRESIDENT and Wayne Castle CEO
Australian Gift & Homewares Association