SAACI, the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry, ran an Industry Pulse Survey in December 2020 which they have made publically available. At the time of the survey, when South Africa was in Enhanced Alert Level 1 which allowed for business events to take place for 250 pax indoors and 500 pax outdoors, the responses reveal that the business events industry was gaining momentum and business confidence was slowly returning.

Shortly after the survey was completed, South Africa moved to an enhanced Alert Level 3, which set the industry back. These findings must therefore be understood in this context.

Click here to access the full survey.

Key Highlights Summary

Revenue impact: The lockdown and limitations around mass gatherings have severely impacted the business events sector, with 53% of the respondents indicating revenue loss of between 51-75%, and a further 21% indicating a revenue loss of 25-50% in the later part of 2020. Interestingly, 2% of respondents indicated 20% revenue increase.

Staff Affects: As a direct result of economic slow-down, 73% of the survey respondents had had a decrease in the overall staff complement, 54% through retrenchments.

Industry Recovery: While there has been little to be optimistic about through-out the pandemic, 36% of respondents were somewhat optimistic and 16% were totally optimistic about a return to normality in their organisation. Conversely 19% were somewhat pessimistic and 5% were completely pessimistic, while 24% were undecided. 

New business generations and bookings: New bookings were being made by 69% of the survey respondents in the past week, month or quarter, while 31% indicated that bookings had stoppped completely.