Coronavirus and Meetings
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Updated April 28, 2020, 11:45 a.m. EDT
Meeting Professionals International announced new dates for its flagship event, the World Education Congress. The four-day event, which was scheduled to take place June 6-9, has been moved to Nov. 3-6.
WEC Grapevine, which will bring together meeting professionals from around the world for a series of networking and education session, will be held in Grapevine, Texas as a hybrid event. MPI said it aims to create a virtual offering that is parallel to the on-site experience. Adjustments to the event format and dates were made to accommodate travel restrictions and ensure attendee safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. More than 2,500 people attended the 2019 event in Toronto.
"This experience will be a rallying cry for our meeting and event community to reunite for recovery," said MPI president and CEO Paul VanDeventer. "The desire to meet, reconcile business opportunities, assist in the economic rebound and learn from peers and experts on COVID-19 response, among dozens of other topics, has been building. Historically, our industry has been the platform to accelerate economic recovery and our focus is to aid in pushing our global community and society forward."
MPI is working closely with the host hotel, the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, to create a safe, secure and healthy environment for all guests and staff members who will be attending the in-person event. As a Marriott property, the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center will be subject to the hotelier's new cleanliness standards for COVID-19. In fact, Marriott plans to showcase WEC Grapevine as an example of its enhanced commitment and focus on guest wellness.
In light of the current pandemic, MPI has also revamped the WEC Grapevine agenda with new programing that is specific to coronavirus management and recovery. The event is being marketed under the tagline, "reunite for recovery."
"The timing for our industry to reunite in November is momentous to say the least," said Paul W. McCallum, executive director of the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau, in a statement. "As the host destination for WEC, the entire Grapevine community will demonstrate just how important this industry is to spur recovery at local, national and global levels. We see this as a case study in the next generation of meetings and events by incorporating hybrid learning and truly unique Texas hospitality for both virtual and in-person attendees."
Risk-free registration for the in-person event is currently being offered to all attendees, with the option to receive a full refund for cancellations made by October 23. Guests also have the option to change their registration to the virtual programming or defer the registration to next year's WEC event, which will be held June 14-17, 2021 at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas.