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Western Australia may be open for business, but events industry left battered by COVID-19

After nearly two years of cancellations and strict COVID-19 restrictions, major events are starting to trickle back to WA, but Perth’s event industry says not enough is being done to help local operators recover.

When the pandemic first struck in 2020 and borders were slammed shut, events and entertainment businesses were among the first to be hit.

Then the WA government decided to impose strict restrictions over the New Year’s period, resulting in a loss of more than $26.5 million after 250 events had to be cancelled.

Months on from WA’s border reopening and weeks since the removal of most COVID restrictions, major events are starting to return to the eleven ‘hermit state’.

Later this month, the second State of Origin game will be heading to Perth Stadium for the first time since 2019 and is expected to bring around 11,000 interstate visitors.

The last State of Origin match held at Perth Stadium was in 2019.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

The stadium will also host Perth’s Festival of International Football in July, with Premier League club Manchester United taking on Aston Villa in one of the fixtures.

There was hope the border reopening in March and the easing of rules would also revive local businesses, but those in the events industry continue to struggle.

Mega Vision is one of the state’s leading audio-visual providers and production companies, and caters for events ranging from small parties to large festivals.

Mr Georgiou said the ripple effect from cancellations around Christmas and the border backflip in February were still ongoing and he expected more recognition from the state government.

jeff georgiou
Jeff Georgiou says a major confidence issue is one of the hurdles the industry is facing.(ABC News: Tabarak Al Jrood)

“We’re not going to see some things until summer comes around but it’s not going to be on the scale that it had been before,” he said.

‘Screaming for help for two years’

Mr Georgiou said he was tired of the events industry being grouped with tourism and sports, and not being given the appreciation it deserves.

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