A SWOT analysis – identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – can be a simple but powerful tool to help guide business strategies. But it need not only apply to businesses. Here, Mike Lord, MD of Alliance Safety and Interim-Chair of SACIA’s Event Safety Council, has applied a SWOT analysis to the Business Tourism and MICE sector. It’s an interesting way to create a situational analysis of the industry at this moment in time.

Business tourism and events are not the enemy or super spreader environments as believed by government.

Can we leverage these strengths and opportunities better? What can we do to overcome these weaknesses and threats? Is anything missing?

Strengths:
  1. Event industry professionals have an entrepreneurial spirit, are adaptable and problem solvers.
  2. We understand Covid-19 and its risks and have put safety guidelines in place to navigate the challenges around the virus.
  3. The sector is already highly regulated and accustomed to adhering to strict standards. We have mechanisms in place to open up the industry while working with the local authorities and the SAPS.
  4. There is a willingness to collaborate, as seen through the formation of the SA Events Council.

Weaknesses:
  1. The sector straddles both the Department of Tourism and the Department of Sport, Arts & Culture. It has therefore been unable to secure the attention it needs from either ministry.
  2. There are too many competing sectors in each ministry that affect our ability to be heard and to be helped.
  3. Business tourism and events are not the enemy or super spreader environments as believed by government.
  4. There is a lack of cohesion between event sub-genres within the sector, such as sports, live events, social events, business events and cultural events.
  5. We also lack detailed research and data to demonstrate the value of the events sector in creating jobs and growing our economy.
  6. We are losing expertise and skills, as people find jobs elsewhere.

The sector is ready and has the skills to help the private and public sector to roll out the mass vaccination plan. #TrustUs

Opportunities:
  1. Industry-specific training can empower us on how to deal with Covid-19.
  2. Technology can help events reopen sooner – such as touchless tech and health passports.
  3. Rapid testing is a viable option to re-open events as an interim solution while we achieve herd immunity.
  4. The vaccine roll-out will make gatherings safer to attend.
  5. The sector is ready and has the skills to help the private and public sector to roll out the mass vaccination plan. #TrustUs
  6. The forced shutdown has allowed us to take stock, and is a chance to build back better.
  7. When events can resume, they will be key in helping to rebuild our economy and create jobs in other industries, especially in the small to medium enterprise sector.

Threats:
  1. Government and corporate South Africa lack confidence in trusting business events to act safely.
  2. All events have been bundled together as “mass gatherings”. These blanket regulations fail to recognise differences in risks and economic benefits between the different types of events.
  3. Insufficient financial support is crippling the industry. Allowing events to open up with industry specific guidelines will re-ignite the industry.
  4. The vaccination rollout is taking time and will not benefit the industry for at least six months while we continue to navigate multiple infection waves. This makes planning future events difficult, especially given the long lead times needed to do this.
  5. The cost of new health and safety measures, coupled with smaller event capacities, are making it hard to host events profitably.
Mike Lord, MD of Alliance Safety and Interim-Chair of SACIA’s Event Safety Council
Mike Lord, MD of Alliance Safety and Interim-Chair of SACIA’s Event Safety Council

“We ask government to #TrustUs and allow the events industry to open further, to allow existing mechanisms to be used so our industry can re-ignite and bring back the magic it creates.”

In closing, Lord says, “We as an events industry have spent the past two months understanding what Covid-19 is about, its risks, and working on solutions and protocols to meet the preventative measures required to combat the spread of the virus. We are ready to #GoLiveTogether with #eventsafety solutions that meets #CovidCompliance. We ask government to #TrustUs and allow the events industry to open further, to allow existing mechanisms to be used so our industry can re-ignite and bring back the magic it creates. We look forward to positive engagements between the private and public sector over the coming months in answering our calls.”

READ: What should the events industry expect & plan for in 2021?