AMSTERDAM / BRUSSELS / PARIS – An increasing number of markets around the world have begun to reopen business events with varying COVID-19 protocols in place. While some cities in China are now operating full calendars, increasing number of exhibitions and live events are taking place in Europe, the Middle East and North and South America. Despite the necessity to shift to digital only events in recent months, numerous studies have shown that companies are eager to return to meeting face-to-face at live events as their preferred marketing channel to reconnect with customers and suppliers and rebuild their businesses following the pandemic.
Confidence will remain a key issue - reassuring customers and visitors that business events can be operated in a controlled environment which adheres to local regulations and policies, and which can minimize associated health risks. Early indicators from events that have been successfully held around the world support this argument and will bolster the industry as markets emerge from lockdown restrictions.
To support this, we are pleased to announce the publication of the: “Good Practice Guide: Addressing COVID-19 Requirements for Re-Opening Business Events – Version 2” produced jointly by AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres, ICCA, the International Convention and Congress Association and UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.
The Guide builds on the first report published in May and includes 12 mini case-studies and learnings from events which successfully too place during July and August around the world. It follows the series of COVID-19 related publications by the three associations and it is being shared with the respective memberships. It continues to support their work to create conditions and safeguards that will enable the smooth reopening of their activities while observing the needs and expectations of relevant governments and health authorities.
This Guide complements three earlier publications which were produced and distributed in March, April and May of this year:
- Good Practice Guidance to COVID-19 for Convention and Exhibition Centres
- Good Practice Guidance for the Use of Centres as Temporary Emergency Facilities
- Good Practice Guide: Addressing COVID-19 Requirements for Re-Opening Business Events
“As demonstrated over the last few months, providing a framework and resources like this Guide are of critical importance when it comes to successfully re-opening for organised events”, said AIPC President Aloysius Arlando. “This updated version includes lessons learnt from our members across our global community and some great examples of colleagues who have successfully re-opened for business and are happy to share their experiences with the entire industry. Once again, the G3 proves its strength in collaboration to provide our communities with pertinent information and good case studies that will serve as useful references for us to move to a post-COVID world.”
“Collaboration and knowledge sharing are the most important drivers of success during challenging times. Our whole industry is built on the premise that coming together for great content and education improves organisations – it is therefore vital we demonstrate that through our own work and our own efforts to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our sector and emerge stronger than ever. This guide highlights some of the leading ideas and success stories across our industry in recent months.
It is a reflection of hard work and perseverance in the face of real difficulties and I recommend it to colleagues around the world. In particular, the case studies show a variety of different approaches and creative ideas to ensure events continue to be a success for all involved. There is something here for everyone, no matter what role they play in the delivery of conferences, congresses and events” said ICCA President James Rees.
“Exhibitions and indeed the entire events industry have been among the worst affected by the pandemic. One of the first industries to be shut down in March, many parts of the world are yet to open their doors again. However, getting the green light to open our doors and reopen our events is only the first hurdle we are facing. We need to reassure our visitors and customers that they can be confident in coming to our events, to meet face to face and rebuild their businesses. As a face-to-face industry we always put the safety of our visitors first, and this Guide shows the many ways that as an industry we are working to implement the very best practices to achieve that,” said Mary Larkin, UFI President, and President of Diversified Communications USA.
As with previous Guides, this latest publication has been created as a collaborative project amongst different parts of the overall industry. It has been developed through the direct, practical experiences and expertise of members that are dealing with the impacts on a day-to-day basis, and the three association Presidents acknowledged this invaluable contribution to the relevance of the content.
Following distribution, the partner associations will be scheduling an online event to facilitate the implementation of the guidance provided in this publication and to assist members in interpreting its content into local actions.