Meeting Mentor Magazine

June 2020

Where to Go for the Latest COVID-19 Info

Among the ravages of the novel coronavirus that is perhaps even eclipsing the U.S. presidential elections in the current news cycle is its direct hit on meetings and events. Why? Some companies, including megacorporations such as Amazon, have instructed employees to curtail meetings-related travel until at least the end of April due to coronavirus concerns. France has temporarily banned gatherings of more than 5,000 people in any “confined space.” There are travel bans that deny entry to certain countries, including the U.S., by those from hard-hit areas, and some airlines have eliminated or reduced flights to and from affected areas, as well.

On the other hand, a Global Rescue survey of its members found that nearly 60% weren’t making any changes to their travel plans. Sixteen percent were taking a wait-and-see approach, and 12% were revising their plans. Only 8% said they were postponing travel, and just 4% said they have canceled trips. The biggest concern of respondents isn’t getting the virus but rather getting stuck somewhere should mandatory quarantines be put in place or further travel bans that would deny them reentry to their home countries.

Nonetheless, The U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Trends Index projects that international inbound traffic to the U.S. will fall 6% between February and April 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the global economy. This three-month drop, should it occur, would be the largest downturn in international travel to the U.S. since the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Perhaps more rampant than the virus itself is misinformation about the current state of the virus’s extent, contagion and mortality rate and its effects on the meetings and hospitality industries.

Here are reliable resources you can turn to for the most recent and accurate facts related to the novel coronavirus and COVID-19:

Health Authority Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This site includes updated situation summaries and statistics for the disease around the world, including total cases and deaths, travel information, how to control spread in communities, and information for specific groups. Of particular note is its CDC event guide.

Johns Hopkins Live Tracker site tracks COVID-19 cases globally in one easy-to-digest graphic interface.

World Health Organization (WHO) includes daily updates, travel advice and myth busters, among other useful items. Of special note is WHO’s Key Planning Recommendations for Mass Gatherings in the Context of the Current COVID-19 Outbreak.

Meetings Industry

Events Industry Council’s (EIC’s) About Coronavirus page includes a backgrounder on the virus and its potential effects on events, resources, and short- and long-term considerations. EIC also offers a free archived webinar on the topic.

Meetings Mean Business Coalition offers a Coronavirus Resources tool kit with the latest updates as well as downloadable industry talking points, a holding statement template, and template for sending letters to the editor.

Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI’s) COVID-19 portal includes a list of industry and MPI news related to COVID-19, along with links to other industry and health authority resources. Of particular interest is MPI’s survey on meeting professionals and COVID-19.

American Society of Association Executives offers an issue roundup on the topic, as well as a webinar featuring a panel of experts.

The Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA’s) resource page includes news updates; a case study; and a downloadable PDF of its 2018 “Guide to Crisis Communications for Business Events Strategists.” PCMA is also offering a series of webinars:
-Tuesday, March 10, 3:30 p.m. CT —Get the Facts on COVID-19 with Dr. Robin Patel, Mayo Clinic
-Thursday, March 12, 1:00 p.m. CT — Is Your Event Covered in a Crisis Situation? – Barbara Dunn, Esq., Barnes & Thornburg LLP
-Tuesday, March 17, 1:00 p.m. CT — Crisis Contract Preparedness for Suppliers – Lisa Devlin, Esq., Devlin Law Firm P.C
-Thursday, March 19, 1:00 p.m. CT — Lessons Learned from Toronto’s 2003 SARS Outbreak – Sherrif Karamat and Bruce MacMillan, PCMA

American Hotel & Lodging Association offers a Facts About Coronavirus page that includes downloadable infographics and safety tips.

Cruise Lines International Association’s statement outlines current protocols for guests and crew.

Destinations International has a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Travel Industry Resource Page, which, along with information and resources, offers a form where members can submit cancelled meetings, and a coronavirus update webcast.

Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI’s) Global Coronavirus Resources page features a number of in-depth articles on the coronavirus’s effect on the hospitality industry.

International Association of Exhibitions and Events’ Coronavirus Resources page offers regular updates, along with a webcast on legal considerations related to canceling an event, which can be viewed on demand here.

International Association of Venue Managers offers an on-demand webcast, Venue Industry Update on the Coronavirus, as well as news updates.

International Congress and Convention Association offers a COVID-19 resource guide with the latest statements from the organization as well as those from individual association members.

Society of Independent Show Organizers and UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, offer a campaign called This Show Is Open to help members maintain current event plans while keeping their stakeholders safe.

U.S. Travel Association’s Coronavirus Emergency Preparedness and Response  page offers news updates and specific traveler guidance for travelers.

Northstar provides a running list of meetings that are currently going on as scheduled, as well as cancellations and postponements.

 

 

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ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

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