The Meetings Mean Business Coalition and major associations including Meeting Professionals International and PCMA rallied around constituents with a flurry of announcements this week in support of meetings continuing as planned—including meeting industry events.
On March 2, the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, a 64-member group representing both the buyer and supplier sides of the business, released an open letter regarding the coronavirus: “As of now, anyone hosting or attending a meeting in the U.S. may proceed as planned, while continuing to consult information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health authorities.”
That was followed by a statement released on March 5 by U.S. Travel, in which the heads of many of the major industry associations—American Society of Association Executives, Destinations International, Events Industry Council, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, International Association of Venue Managers, Meeting Professionals International and PCMA—joined forces with a strong message about fear: “As numerous organizations determine plans related to conducting meetings, conferences, conventions and trade shows—where people gather in sizable groups to conduct business—we strongly encourage decisions to be based in facts rather than fear, given the enormity of the impact to the workforce that supports the events industry.”
Here’s what’s happening in the meeting industry:
• The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence has announced that it will move forward with the Incentive Summit Europe in Davos, Switzerland March 26 to 29 and the Incentive Summit Americas in Beaver Creek, Colo., April 2 to 5.
• Prevue will proceed with its Best Practices Summit April 16 to 17 in Dallas. The event is sold out, but there is still room on the wait list. Learn more here.
• IMEX Frankfurt will proceed as planned May 12 to 14. Chair Ray Bloom and CEO Carina Bauer sent an email on March 2 quoting Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council: “Containing the spread of unnecessary panic is as important as stopping the virus itself.”
“We feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility to focus on the facts and to act with common sense and sound judgment, taking the advice of the relevant authorities and scientists,” said Bloom and Bauer.
• On the web site for MPI ‘s WEC June 6 to 9 in Grapevine, Texas, is the message: “The Show Is On. Stay Informed.” The organization emailed a formal statement to members on March 6, confirming that, “At this time, we have no plans to make any adjustments to our 2020 signature event.” MPI President & CEO Paul Van Deventer was one of the association leaders who signed the U.S. Travel letter.
• The Incentive Research Foundation sent an email to invitees and registrants that its Annual Education Invitational May 27 to 31 in the Dominican Republic will move forward.
Huw Tuckett, executive director of Euromic, a leading association representing DMCs around the world, sent an email on March 6 urging clients who must change their plans to postpone, not cancel. “Work with suppliers and partners to honor deposits paid for use on future dates, check future availability, and work on moving programs and events to 6 or 9 months from now…Discounts will be found everywhere instead of incurring cancellations fees that in reality are a lose-lose situation.”
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