Bulletin: COVID-19

We’re all being flooded by news and communications about COVID-19.  Below we summarise information about how destinations are responding, which we hope will help you in planning your own mitigation and recovery strategies.



Hong Kong’s Convention Ambassador Program
Source: Edited excerpt from Travel and Tour World
Date: 26 May 2021

Over 100 distinguished leaders of business and professional bodies in Hong Kong have joined forces with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) as Hong Kong Convention Ambassadors to promote the city as the premier choice for business events. The Hong Kong Convention Ambassador programme is formulated not only to bring business events to the city when travel resumes but will also promote the advantages of Hong Kong to the global business community and help drive multi-sectoral recovery. The strong alliance of Convention Ambassadors will amplify Hong Kong’s appeal in drawing more business events to the city, thereby driving a robust recovery post-COVID-19.

Penang’s virtual road show to China
Source: Edited excerpt from Mix Meetings and M & C Asia
Date: 13 May 2021

Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau embarked on a virtual roadshow tour five regional markets in China with the Malaysian state’s first event of its type. The inaugural Penang Virtual Roadshow to China 2021 (PVRTC 2021), May 18-20, showcased 26 of the island’s tourism and business events products to some 150 pre-qualified buyers across Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

Seoul’s digital transformation
Source: Edited excerpt from Conference and Meetings World and TTGMICE
Date: 5 May 2021

Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) has digitally transformed the charm of Seoul starting with a platform called Virtual Seoul for hosting online business events such as conferences, summits, and round tables. The promotion booth has become Seoul MICE World, which introduces mini cultural events along with other tourism and MICE industry information in the city by clicking on the link on the event website. The virtual teambuilding program is the latest resource with 49 360 VR videos for virtual site inspection to invite online participants to digital Seoul. The Virtual Seoul Playground is designed to present a stimulating teambuilding experience to online participants. When utilising the Virtual Seoul platform, not only are the 3D graphics offered at no charge, 10 million Korean won (USD 8,980) will also be provided as a stipend to event planners to offset operating expenses.

Seoul’s Reassuring package
Source: Edited excerpt from TTGMICE
Date: 28 April 2021

In addition, SCB also released a Reassuring Package, aimed at providing MICE delegates with a peace of mind when visiting the city. The package includes emergency medical insurance, language services, and general concierge services for hotel and transportation reservations.

Thailand’s “Winnovation” program
Source: Edited excerpt from PR News Wire
Date: 5 April 2021

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has partnered with other organizations to launch ‘MICE Innovation, Winning with the Innovation’ which is aimed at offering enhanced support for Thai business events entrepreneurs to source and implement innovation in all aspects of event management. ‘MICE Winnovation’ is made up of four components:

  1. MICE Innovation Catalog – an online innovation and technology databank listing products and services for pre-event, onsite, and post-event management.
  2. Technomart – a business-matching platform for MICE entrepreneurs and start-ups throughout Thailand.
  3. Inno-Voucher – a funding scheme to promote innovation implementation.
  4. Digital Literacy for MICE – an initiative to encourage MICE entrepreneurs to attend online or offline workshops where they can exchange ideas with experts to advance their digitalisation strategy. TCEB is set to launch a quarterly podcast in 2021 to help MICE professionals stay abreast of relevant technology and trends.


Melbourne’s USD 33.08 million business events funding
Source: Edited excerpt from CIM and Travel and Tour World
Date: 20 May 2021

The Victorian Government will invest AUD 42.913 million (USD 33.08 million) over four years to support the Melbourne Convention Bureau and Business Events Victoria to acquire business events for the state through its Business Events Program.

List of Australia’s support packages for business events
Source: Edited excerpt from MICENET
Date: 13 May 2021

  • Melbourne Convention Bureau – up to AUD 25,000 per event to offset event costs through their National Business Events Program for events up to December 31, 2022.
  • Business Events Geelong – AUD 50 per delegate for business events up to 100 pax. The total funding pool is AUD 30,000.
  • The New South Wales (NSW) Government through Business Events Sydney – Up to AUD 90,000 per event is available through Kickstart 2021 Sydney Business Events Fund. In total, the NSW government has allocated AUD 5.5 million to directly fund business events.
  • Business Events Perth – up to AUD 25,000 to help secure a keynote speaker for business events held anywhere in Australia in 2021 and AUD 30 per delegate to a maximum of AUD 30,000.
  • Brisbane Economic Development Agency – AUD 50 per in-person delegate for events in Brisbane until December 2022. Funding is to be spent on event costs.
  • Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef – an average of AUD 50 per delegate, with subvention funding granted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Mackay Regional Council – up to AUD 75,000 per event through the Council’s Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction Programs.
  • Northern Territory Business Events – AUD 100 per delegate to be spent on local event costs through the NT Business Events Support Fund.
  • Business Events Tasmania – up to AUD 150 per delegate through Tasmania’s Business Events Attraction Fund.


UK Government’s Business Events Growth Programme
Source: Edited excerpt from Conference and Meetings World
Date: 24 May 2021

VisitBritain is accepting funding applications of between £5,000 to £20,000 per event or bid to support all organisations in hosting international business events in the UK, whether they would like to win international events or to develop, grow and internationalize existing events. VisitBritain will offer three types of support.

  • Bid Enhancement and Support to bid and win new international business events for the UK.
  • International Delegate Growth to support the growth, development and internationalisation of business events in the UK.
  • Government Advocacy to support the UK’s business events industry and adding value to your events by working with HM Government.

Finland’s “Virtual Helsinki” initiative
Source: Edited excerpt from Conference and Meetings World
Date: 18 May 2021

The city of Helsinki has digitised some of its major event venues, in a new initiative called Virtual Helsinki. Its aim is to promote Helsinki as a destination remotely, allowing people to attend virtual fam trips while travel restrictions remain in place.

Vienna Meeting Fund 2021-2023
Source: Edited excerpt from Conference and Meetings World
Date: 4 May 2021

The City of Vienna is providing the Vienna Tourist Board and Vienna Convention Bureau with €4million (USD 4.875 million) of financial support for meeting organisers in the city. The Vienna Meeting Fund 2021-2023 will also extend funding to corporate conferences and hybrid events, which it previously had not. Any event is eligible which takes place in a Viennese location and includes at least 50 people for a minimum duration of four hours. Further financial support can be obtained for events that generate overnight stays in hotels, and which incur costs in implementing hybrid features. The maximum funding per event is €60,000.

Poland’s protocol for the business events industry
Source: Edited excerpt from KONGRES and Polish Tourism Organization
Date: 6 May 2021

The KRAKÓW Network Protocol is a set of good practices and recommendations adapted to the new post-pandemic reality outlining a list of key strategies that will allow for the further development of the meetings and events industry. The protocol received 182 signatories from a diversity of stakeholders in the business events industry who highlighted the following courses of action: the need to establish innovative business models based on joint risk management, digital restructuring, the promotion of hybrid events and the creation of the competitive edge of Kraków through the engagement of local representatives of the business events industry.

Read the protocol here.

Europe’s three recovery scenarios for the business events industry
Source: Edited excerpt from Conference and Meetings World
Date: 12 May 2021

The Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe has published an update of its 2020 study, ‘The Impact of Coronavirus on Europe’s Convention Sector’. The report, prepared by Tourism Economics, provides three recovery scenarios:

  1. Baseline Scenario – forecasts that different types of events will recover at varying paces, with small domestic-oriented cooperate meetings and events leading the way and almost reaching 2019 levels by the end of 2022.
  2. Optimistic Scenario – anticipates an early easing of restrictions, a rapid upturn in economic growth, and limited negative sentiment effects.
  3. Pessimistic Scenario – predicts that the continued prevalence and effects of the virus will see some additional restrictions maintained into 2022 and that many future events will be either hybrid or completely virtual.

Read the report here.

Berlin’s Congress Fund
Source: Edited excerpt from Meetings HQ
Date: 10 May 2021

The Berlin Congress Fund is a funding programme initiated by the State of Berlin to restart Berlin’s event industry. The aim of the fund is to support and encourage all event organisers to realise planned B2B events in Berlin’s conference hotels and event locations. The Berlin Congress Fund provides financial support amounting to a possible total of max. 60 euros (USD 73.13) for each in-person attendee.


Washington DC fully reopens for business events
Source: Edited excerpt from Conference and Meetings World and Destination DC
Date: 21 May 2021

Washington, DC has reopened for in-person meetings, conventions, tradeshows, groups and special events with no restrictions. The hospitality alliance, comprised of Destination DC (DDC), Events DC, the Hotel Association of Washington, DC and Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, is now leading an industry-wide effort to support meetings customers with a two-fold Still Connected approach. First is a focus on health standards and second is a focus on commerce thriving in the city. DDC has launched the DEI District, a content hub to help showcase Washington, DC as a global destination that promotes and validates diversity, equity and inclusion. Within the Meet section, event planners discover unique venues such as women-owned hotels, active community hubs and sustainable spaces.

Incentive market likely to lead recovery in South America
Source: Edited excerpt from Conference and Meetings World
Date: 19 May 2021

The Convention Bureaux of Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Sao Paulo and Quito Tourism presented, the results of their reactivation survey ‘Towards the new meetings industry’. It shows association business set for a sustained medium-term recovery but the incentives sector likely to make the quickest return, but with some changed priorities for buyers. The report had the objective of showcasing the new reality for the MICE industry, in the associative and corporate markets, based on the results of a survey in the Latin-American, Interamerican, Ibero-American, Pan-American and global markets.