Cancellations & Closings, Again

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A new wave of cancellations and closings dominated the news of the past week.

The meetings and travel industry has seen a new wave of cancellations and closings in the past week as a result of COVID-19.

A number of meeting industry events and venues announced cancellations and closures:

IMEX Frankfurt 2020, which was was due to take place at Messe Frankfurt, May 12 to 14, has been canceled. In a statement released on its website, IMEX Group’s chairman and CEO, Ray Bloom and Carina Bauer, said, “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of this year’s IMEX in Frankfurt. We know that this will come as an enormous disappointment, not only to the exhibitors, buyers and industry professionals who were due to attend the show, but also to the global business events community.”

IACC Americas Connect, scheduled to take place in Dallas on March 30-April 1 will be postponed to June 29-July 1. IACC CEO Marc Cooper and IACC Americas President Nancy Lindemer said in a statement on March 11 that “The IACC board of directors and all those involved in putting together the annual meeting, believe that Connect should be the catalyst event for our members to begin looking forward and rebuilding again once the worst of COVID-19 is behind us.”

Princess Cruises is temporarily suspending global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months, March 12 through May 10. Royal Caribbean is suspending U.S. cruising for 30 days. Norwegian is suspending global operations until April 11. Hurtigruten, the world’s largest expedition cruise operator, will voluntarily stop operations from pole to pole until the end of April. Viking announced it will temporarily suspend river and ocean cruise operations until May 1. Virgin Voyages has moved the inaugural season of the Scarlet Lady to July, with its maiden voyage slated for August 7. Windstar Cruises will temporarily suspend operations worldwide for cruises embarking March 14 through April 30, 2020. AmaWaterways is delaying its European sailing season with a new scheduled start of April 26, 2020.

As a result of President Trump’s announcement cancelling all flights from Europe, Norwegian reported it would ground 40 percent of its long-haul fleet and cancel up to 25 percent of its short-haul flights until the end of May. Other airlines most significantly affected include Delta, operating 17 percent of those flights; United, with 14 percent; and Lufthansa, with 13 percent, according to The New York Times.

Marriott Long Wharf, the site of a two-day meeting in late February that became the source of most Massachusetts cases of COVID-19, has closed temporarily.

In New York, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ordered an end to all gatherings of more than 500 people, forcing an unprecedented shutdown of Broadway‘s 41 theaters through April 12. Other cultural organizations including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall are also closed temporarily.

Theme parks at Walt Disney World will be closed through the end of March, as well as Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure in California.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.