Gbemisola Ope is President of the Association of Professional Party Organisers and Event Managers of Nigeria (APPOEMN). A head turner any day with brains to match, she has steered the organisation to the enviable status it deserves, bringing good coordination, discipline, wide patronage and development in several other areas of the body, with prospects of even more. In the light of the ‘New Normal’ occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Editor MANNY ITA, caught up with her on the ZOOM platform and she bared it all on the hit the sector is taking due to the pandemic.
How has COVID-19 affected the events management industry
The current pandemic has literally crippled the event industry. We have gone from 100% to 25% income and service that is a massive hit.
Are there certain types of events that are impacted more than others during this period
Yes the services part of the industry has been hit the most – Event planners, decorators, ad-hoc staff, photographers, videographers to mention a few
What would you say have been the largest impact of COVID-19 are on the events industry
Loss of income and jobs.
In the region of what amount do you think the events industry would potentially lose during this period
About 20billion naira loss
Are you liaising with appropriate government agencies on potential impact and relief measures
Yes we are currently working with state governments, unfortunately there have been no financial relief offered or given but potential assistance to guide us safety to reopening the industry (Health and safety)
Going forward, do you think there could be new ways of holding events
Definitely we, as we have currently seen a rise in virtual events, in addition to that there will be more intimate events – hopefully putting an end to mo gbo mo ya (uninvited or entitled guested) and the need for a reduction in party size not just to prevent infection spread but to get that luxury event with people that matter the most to you. Health and safety will be the new watch word for the country and industry in general.
What would be the key risks associated with holding events when the embargo on gatherings are lifted…what sensible control measures would be implemented
Lots of health and safety measures are been put in place but we cannot stop educating the public and clients. Hopefully Nigerians have learnt and will listen.
What are some of the things the association has been discussing in the light of the pandemic and what has been the medium of discussion
APPOEMN has continued to do the following 1. Continous checkups on our members 2. Training and lectures on mental health, finance and plans for after covid 3. Launch of APPOEMN TV to continue to sensitize the industry in general, lift spirits, answer questions, give general industry updates, entertainment etc. we make use of Instagram page, Zoom, whats app group, facebook etc
Can you share the story of your own brand
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What general advice would you give event planners at this time
Don’t be discouraged, use this time to rest physically, spiritually, mentally. Re-assess your business and finances (be honest with yourself). If you need to take up a 9 – 5 to get back on your feet please do it. Postpone events don’t cancel