We need to recalibrate the way we are going about with the crisis: Sanjoy Roy
Roy, President, Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), discusses the profound impact of the pandemic on the events industry in the months to come
In view of the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanjoy Roy, President, Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) sheds light on the quantum of loss to the events industry, which has taken the biggest blow.
Tell us about the kind of impact the COVID-19 has had on the events industry in India?
The events industry is fragile because it's not something you produce and save to release on a rainy day. According to a survey we did, from 80% of the industry, at least 8% have been affected by the cancellation. This is amongst the busiest seasons and the financial year-end, but the impact has already been felt because of the economic downturn. The events industry lost 50% of its business from the Auto Expo, as 50% of the media didn't book into the auto industry. It’s going to be very difficult for people to recover in such a short period of time.
How much of a loss has the pandemic caused and what are the steps taken by EEMA to combat the same?
The informal number is Rs 40,000 crore. The industry has been growing at 17% year-on-year but will see an enormous de-growth this year. We are doing a report with EY, the results of which should be out sometime in April. We have made submissions, asking the government to consider some steps, although we understand their difficulties at this point. We have requested for simple things like the immediate payout of all income tax refunds, which have been due for a while, and the due payment from the central and state governments to event companies for work done or work-in-progress.
Most sectors have placed their petitions before the government in challenging times like these. Do you anticipate a positive outcome for the grants you seek from the government?
We'll have to wait and watch because this is being done in a phased-out way. We hope that they do roll this out because it's not only the events and experiential industry but all the services that are affected. Textile industries are looking at enormous setbacks because of order cancellations all over the world. This economic impact is worse than demonetization and has broken supply and production chain lines and people are going to have to go local. There's no assurance about what is to happen by April 14, 2020.
Should the government give in to these petitions? How much of a relief will it be?
We just hope the government looks at the whole service, the MSME sector and all the sectors that are appealing, otherwise, unemployment will skyrocket to 14%-15%. Even essential services like newspaper are not being delivered. We need to recalibrate the way we are going about with this because if we don’t, the economy will kill us before the virus.
Tell us a little about the impact of the pandemic on global markets.
I am a part of quite a few global advisory boards. Cirque Du Soleil, one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, has laid off 95% of its employees and closed down 46 shows. Apart from this, all of Broadway and West End has closed down. The council of England has announced £150 million spent.
How long until the industry recoups from the complications of the ongoing bug?
When we come out of the immediate COVID-19 threat, it is going to take a while for the food chain to resurrect and we are pretty much at the bottom of it. Until manufacturing starts out, with enough money to advertise, none of this will start because people won't have the additional resource.
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