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.
The Thailand Conventions and Exhibitions Bureau (TCEB) has launched the “Virtual Meeting Space” (VMS) project, providing support for business events entrepreneurs to keep their business alive by running events online, and re-skilling or up-skilling their manpower using virtual resources. TCEB’s other project, “COVID-19 Free Meetings,” will help venues upgrade their safety and health standards in the face of new requirements.
Chinese organisers are considering creating events that are a hybrid of physical gatherings combined with the digital sphere, or “phys-gital”. It is expected that the “new normal” will be the rise of hybrid events combining digital video-conferencing and exhibitions using virtual-reality technology, with delegates still gathering at venues.
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
The South Australian Government has announced a AUD$5.7 million (US$ 3.6 million) funding package to support the tourism and events sector. The package includes a new Regional Events Grant Fund, which aims to provide financial support for small to medium regional event organisers who have experienced financial loss due to the forced cancellation or postponement of an event.
Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) has launched a new event, BE Reconnected, for December 2020. BE Reconnected will focus on re-engaging and reconnecting industry relationships to help kick start business recovery. This event will replace this multi-day Meetings Exhibition which was due to be held in April this year.
Monaco Convention Bureau is working with key suppliers to offer, wherever possible, the waiver of contractual cancellation fees and postpone deposits for upcoming events which are affected by COVID-19. The policy has also been extended by most Monaco hotels for individual and group reservations. Organisers of regular Monaco conferences and meetings are being offered new dates and the most suitable solutions.
The Kenya National Convention Bureau (KNCB) believes that there is opportunity to examine how ready the industry is in response to crisis situations, and jointly plan with industry members for recovery and building a robust and sustainable business events sector by:-
- Building a united public and private sector stakeholder and supplier community
- Improving market intelligence
- Adding to the sales pipeline
- Building a credible brand for launch to the global marketplace
- Engineering efficient processes to achieve faster business growth in the future
- Generating local community understanding, support and engagement in the sector
The Singapore Marketing College, a free online learning platform of Singapore Tourism Board, covers modules such as Brand, Strategic Planning and Activation Planning, and is offered free so the industry can upskill in preparation for the post COVID-19 recovery.
These recommendations from the United Nations World Tourism Organization are divided into three key areas:
I) Managing the crisis and mitigating the impact
1. Incentivise job retention, sustain the self-employed and protect the most vulnerable groups
2. Support companies’ liquidity
3. Review taxes, charges, levies and regulations impacting transport and tourism
4. Ensure consumer protection and confidence
5. Promote skills development, especially digital skills
6. Include tourism in national, regional and global economic emergency packages
7. Create crisis management mechanisms and strategies
II) Providing stimulus and accelerating recovery
1. Provide financial stimulus for tourism investment and operations
2. Review taxes, charges and regulations impacting travel and tourism
3. Advance travel facilitation
4. Promote new jobs and skills development, particularly digital ones
5. Mainstream environmental sustainability in stimulus and recovery packages
6. Understand the market and act quickly to restore confidence and stimulate demand
7. Boost marketing, events and meetings
8. Invest in partnerships
9. Mainstream tourism in national, regional and international recovery programmes and in Development Assistance
III) Preparing for the future
1. Diversify markets, products and services
2. Invest in market intelligence systems and digital transformation
3. Reinforce tourism governance at all levels
4. Prepare for crisis, build resilience and ensure tourism is part of national emergency mechanism and systems
5. Invest in human capital and talent development
6. Place sustainable tourism firmly on the national agenda
7. Transition to the circular economy and embrace the SDGs
TOURISM CAMPAIGNS DURING COVID-19
While the coronavirus pandemic continues, and social distancing measures are in place, many people are now working from home and video conferencing has become the new norm. To inspire would-be travellers around the world, Tourism Australia has made 13 stunning Australian landscapes available for use as virtual backdrops during Zoom meetings.
The Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) has launched a global campaign ‘We’ll Keep it Beautiful for You.’ This campaign, aimed at keeping Vanuatu top-of-mind, promises that the locals will keep Vanuatu beautiful for visitors until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. As part of the campaign, the VTO will also share a range of #VanuatuMoments featuring locals helping to keep Vanuatu beautiful, on its Facebook and Instagram channels.
In a video on their Instagram page, Visit Abu Dhabi gives a message of using this time of silence, not for sadness but for reflection. “The world will return and Adu Dhabi will be waiting with open arms. We’ll be waiting for you #InAbuDhabi. Till we meet again, #StayHome, #StaySafe but #StayCurious