Loss To Event Sector In India Pegged At Rs 5,000 Cr With No Respite In Sight

With millions of rendered jobless, a large number of them daily wagers, the events and the experiential sector is staring at a trillion-dollar loss globally.


If there is a word that can describe, without exaggeration, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the events and experiential sector, it should be -- ruined.

With millions of rendered jobless, a large number of them daily wagers, the events and the experiential sector is staring at a trillion-dollar loss globally.

Big Loss

Closer home,  the apex body of events in India---Events and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), which is headquartered in New Delhi and has 800 plus agencies among its members, has already pressed the panic button.

Recently it has written to the government for a bailout package and has also released a report on the extent of loss to the sector so far.

According to the report,  the impact of covid -19 on the events and experiential industry would be to the tune of Rs 3000 Cr for the first two months, at a minimum. This is in part due to cancellations of existing projects and contracts. Cancellations of conferences, State and Central Government endeavours, international MICE events, events and entertainment segment, cancellation of valid visas and the person-scare which has impacted the industry.

Impact on supply chain

The covid-19 pandemic has also disrupted the event's supply chain, forcing an unprecedented loss. Apart from impacting the livelihood of millions employed, the inability to pay banks has posed a challenging time for event vendors.

The impact on sponsorships, the backbone of events is unmissable. Brands are resetting their plans, expectations, markets, delivery systems, marketing focus and logistics. According to EEMA, this will force the experiential industry to lay-o? employees, reduce salaries, delay mandatory payouts and worse still shut companies. 

“If the situation prolongs, it will have a huge impact on the event economy, global and local enterprises, employment, and business environment triggering a new business and economic order. It has also put at risk the livelihood of over 10 million professionals who depend on this segment,” the  EEMA report added.

As we know, no industry resides more in the physical realm than experiential and events. The first fatal blow has been the nature of the pandemic, which can only be controlled by measures like social distancing, lockdowns and isolation. Something which the event industry can hardly afford. And looking at how the original epicentre of this pandemic- Wuhan, is limping back to normalcy, the timeline to recovery can stretch to three months at the minimum. 

According to Sanjoy K Roy, President EEMA, “The impact on the events and the experiential industry is expected to last for months and around 10 million jobs would be at risk.  80% of this would be daily wage earners with no access to credit facilities nor to working capital.”

While the COVID-19 impact on events and the experiential sector is here to stay, there is a ray of hope. In the last few weeks since the nationwide lockdown was announced, many event companies have started exploring virtual events. 

Rising up to the challenge

Some of the experts believe that virtual events will gain mainstream status in the coming time though they still are grappling with a revenue model.Atul Todi, Co-Founder of, which is the world's largest aggregator of business events says that as the world goes virtual, event agencies will have no option but to test the waters. But, without the sponsors, virtual move is not possible. 

“Sponsors want visibility in-front of a premium audience, to build their brand and get enterprise deals. Besides the fact that physical is not possible for next few months, virtual events have a few tricks available to impress the sponsors. From a sponsor ticker below the live streaming’s, to one-2-one sessions with the sponsors and even virtual stage time. The trick is in the way the data is presented. Instead of footfall at physical events as the yardstick, organisers need to think like TV producers to monetise virtual events”, said Todi.

While the events industry is attempting to find a response to this unprecedented crisis, the bigger worry still remains the millions of daily wagers who have no foreseeable respite for now.

Tags assigned to this article:
events EEMA COVID-19


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