Coronavirus and Meetings
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UPDATED ON MARCH 11, 2020: Following the German government's advisory to cancel live events, the 2020 IMEX Frankfurt is not going forward. Our original article from March 3, 2020, follows.
Despite a number of large events recently canceling in light of the coronavirus outbreak, IMEX Frankfurt, one of the largest trade exhibitions for the meetings, conventions, events and incentive travel industry, is expected to go on. In a statement released today, IMEX said it has "no plans to cancel or postpone the show," which is held annually in Frankfurt, Germany.
The four-day event is scheduled to take place May 12-14 this year. More than 14,000 people attended IMEX Frankfurt 2019, including 7,793 hosted buyers and trade visitors. Exhibitors from 172 countries were also in attendance.
Following is the full statement from IMEX:
"With IMEX due to take place in the middle of May (still 10 weeks away), the IMEX team continues to plan confidently for the show.
We currently have no plans to postpone or cancel our show despite some major events canceling across Europe in the past few days.
This unprecedented situation is changing daily so we remain watchful but also focused on delivering what is an extremely important event for the global business events community.
We are in daily contact with our partners around the world and in Europe. We’re also in regular communication with our partners in Germany (the German Convention Bureau, Messe Frankfurt and the Frankfurt Tourist Office), as well as the appropriate authorities, including travel and health advisory bodies nationally and globally.
Mindful of our duty of care, we are carefully considering and consulting with experts on what the appropriate sanitary, health and other measures should be and can assure our industry that all appropriate measures will be in place at the show.
COVID-19 is presenting the business events and travel industries with an unprecedented global challenge. The IMEX team are passionate believers in, and advocates for, the substantial social and economic power of meetings and events. We know that the negative long-term impact of speculation, hype and overreaction will be damaging not just to our industry, but also to your local communities and business as a whole.
We feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility to focus on the facts and to act with common sense and sound judgement, taking the advice of the relevant authorities and scientists. In the words of Gloria Guevara, president and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), 'containing the spread of unnecessary panic is as important as stopping the virus itself.'
Separating Fact From Fiction
We’re aware that there’s a lot of speculation and hype surrounding the impact of Covid-19 globally and that it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction.
Above all, we believe it’s important not to overreact but to keep this global health issue in context.
We agree with our friends at ICCA: 'In general, it is good practice in situations like these to stay calm, communicate responsibly and follow official health and travel advice.'"
Click here for Northstar's up-to-date coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and its effect on the meetings industry.