Sherrif Karamat, CAE
Since my last message to the global business events community, the COVID-19 outbreak has expanded beyond China, prompting major event cancellations, increased travel restrictions and plunges to global financial markets.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health are advising businesses and communities to be vigilant with public health protocols and to take all steps necessary for a heightened preparedness level. This is a good thing for all of us, because everyone’s health and welfare are paramount.
Business events leaders and stakeholders everywhere are now undertaking complex risk assessments in conjunction with local host DMOs and destination health authorities, and then grappling with difficult decisions on how to move forward.
An ongoing social media poll being conducted by PCMA indicates that our audiences have made sourcing COVID-19 related management resources their current top priority. PCMA remains dedicated to providing the essential resources and credible factual information business event stakeholders need to help them make the best decisions, and then lead them through the recovery.
What we believe above all else:
Business events must play a role in contributing to the solution — not the spread — of this outbreak. This means that business events stakeholders, first and foremost, must step up efforts to keep their participants and their host destinations safe from the spread of COVID-19 during this outbreak in order for our industry to do its part to aid the global recovery.
What we are doing now: Crisis management and risk assessment resources
Business event and destination professionals need up-to-the-minute facts and protocols on how to keep their attendees and host destinations safe, even if it means cancelling the event for the right reasons. We will provide them.
We are partnering with CEMA to announce a series of interactive webinars over the next few weeks to get you what you need. Click the links for more information and to register:
Our COVID-19 webpage — What Business Event Professionals Need to Know About the COVID-19 Coronavirus — is being constantly updated with resources, best practices, case studies, and insights on how communities and business event professionals are handling this continually evolving situation.
Timely resources include:
Case studies of major events held in the last few weeks and their best practices for communication, safeguarding the health of their participants, and mitigating the loss of exhibitors and attendees include:
You can also sign up to receive daily updates through our PCMA News Junkie e-newsletter.
What we’re planning for the future: Crisis recovery
The timing for that recovery remains unknown and will depend on an “all clear” endorsement from independent global public health authorities (e.g. WHO, CDC). We also believe that the timing of that “all clear” signal will now vary significantly across the globe, increasing the complexities for business event stakeholders making timely, effective decisions.
We have begun working with our leadership, infectious disease experts, regional advisory boards, business partners and our members to define the foundational objectives of our COVID-19 recovery effort:
- Provide information relevance and clarity and to business event professionals as “All Clear” signals are issued by global health organizations for effected areas.
- Provide business event professionals with the necessary information required to undertake risk assessments in a COVID-19 recovery scenario.
- Demonstrate that business events are taking place safely once again and are a critical part of the COVID-19 economic and social recovery process.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, seemingly by the hour, we will ensure that our crisis management resources and recovery plan are updated to support the needs of business events stakeholders everywhere.
Helping the global business events industry navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak is now PCMA’s top industry priority and we are dedicating resources accordingly. We have received strong offers of support from our partners as well as from leaders in adjacent industries who believe that business events are vital to their respective economic and social well-being.
We invite anyone with an interest in supporting PCMA’s plan to connect with us at Sherrif.Karamat@pcma.org
Thank you all once again for supporting our industry during these challenging times.