Following COI's announcement it will slash 287 jobs in the department this year, 38% of events professionals responding to a C&IT online poll said public spending cuts were the biggest challenge to the industry.
The results come as COI has revealed it will make 40% of its staff redundant on 1 November. All 737 staff - including its 16-strong events division headed by Simon Hughes - are at risk of redundancy.
Motivcom divisional managing director Nigel Cooper said: "The government's austerity programme has an impact on confidence because, while you might not deal with the public sector at all, your clients may do."
TRO managing director Keith O'Loughlin said the agency's previous seven-figure government billings gave it first hand experience of the issues.
"The changes to public sector activity will have ramifications for the industry, along with the need for justification of budgets through ROI," he said.
Eventia chairman Mark Saxby added: "Live events are one of the most effective communication mediums. We must hope the government bears this in mind when seeking to cut expenditure and take considerable resource out of organisations such as the COI, with a knock-on effect in terms of jobs among all those in the supply chain."
Meanwhile, 30% believed proving ROI would be the biggest test of the coming year.
287 - Number of jobs that will be axed at COI
90 - Days of redundancy consultation for COI events staff
38% believe public spending cuts are the biggest challenge to the events industry (C&IT online poll)