As the meetings and events industry and the supply chain that supports it continues to try to work through viable solutions and contingency plans brought on by the Coronavirus (COVID-19),  the global impact seems to be increasing, for now.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has just confirmed Coronavirus as a pandemic and called for “urgent action”.  President Trump has announced travel restrictions on flights into the US from many European countries and more and more countries around the globe are invoking emergency measures and restrictions on the movement of people within their own borders by closing schools and cancelling public gatherings.

Not only are we seeing the postponement, and in some cases the cancellation, of our clients’ meetings and conferences, we are also seeing cancellation of our own industry events.  Supporting such an important industry, the stakeholders within it and the jobs and livelihoods of the people employed herein is vital.  However, at the same time, we must all do what we can to avoid the further spread and infection of COVID-19.  WHO provides the following advice to protect yourself and others: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

There is a deluge of information being shared through media platforms around the globe on an almost minute-by-minute basis but it can be overwhelming to pick through what has specific relevance for one person in one country and what is relevant to another in a different part of the world.  Finding reliable information is critical to decision making.

IAPCO has now conducted two on-line video conferences, entitled ‘Global Coronavirus Impact Dialogues’, amongst our Members as our way of empowering our Members to share real-time, practical information that is most relevant to them.  Over 40 joined the first Dialogue on the 4th March and we experienced similar numbers at our most recent one held on 11thMarch.

During each, our Members discussed the impact COVID-19 is having in their regions and shared experiences while providing some suggestions and recommendations based on what each is doing internally within their own organisations as well as external in their communities, with their clients and with their suppliers.  In the spirit of supporting one another and sharing knowledge amongst the community, the outcomes of each of these Dialogues are being shared with the entire IAPCO Membership base.

Other information important to share with IAPCO Members, some of which have also been shared by our Strategic Industry Partners, includes:

World Health Organisation:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

WHO – Recommendation for Planning Mass Gatherings:

https://www.who.int/publications-detail/key-planning-recommendations-for-mass-gatherings-in-the-context-of-the-current-covid-19-outbreak

Joint Meetings Industry Council (link to IAPCO Strategic Partners’ COVID-19 Statements):

https://www.themeetingsindustry.org/novel-coronavirus/

Events Industry Council / EIC Industry Insights (link to IAPCO Strategic Partner Statements):

https://www.eventscouncil.org/Industry-Insights/About-coronavirus

IAPCO will continue to remain focussed on supporting our Members and industry partners as we work through the challenges that COVID-19 has brought.  We will try to update and share any relevant information and call on our members to do the same as it relates to their city, region or country, by emailing  knowledge-share@iapco.org

Ori Lahav

IAPCO President