Important announcement from Aloysius Arlando, President of AIPC

Shared Resources, Consistent Response

The challenges that have arisen so quickly in connection with the recent COVID-19 outbreak are good reminders of how fast things can change in our hyper-connected world. The impacts on our industry are now being felt widely, with event postponements and cancellations – some on a massive scale – happening world-wide, and access to international events essentially disappearing as countries close their borders to manage containment.
Is this something where a collective response can still help? We believe it is, certainly from the perspective of sharing information, experiences and successes and potentially by developing some consistency to actions and strategies throughout the industry.

There are a number of dimensions to this;
First, we need to have a starting point - and that is that the health and safety of our staff and customers is paramount. Nothing else even comes close, and that must shape our responses as we move forward.
Secondly, this is no place for individual actions that are not carefully coordinated with community and global expertise, regulations that shape policies and procedures in the surrounding community and, in the case of agencies like WHO, the world as a whole. 
Third, we need to offer up some visible consistency as to how we as venues should react in order to inspire confidence and enable a return to something approaching normal as soon as the crisis has passed or is at least brought under control. Some of the factors are as follows;
·       Ensure that all policies and procedures within the industry’s spheres of influence that help secure the health and safety of event participants are in place and up to date
·       Maintain detailed awareness of both local and global actions and restrictions in order to be able to advise on factors that may affect upcoming events
·       Cooperate with local / national authorities to implement any measures that have been determined to potentially impact events 
·       Consult with event organizers, suppliers and service providers to explore ways in which we can support them with the extraordinary challenges we know they are facing, and
·       Continue to support awareness of the essential roles of meetings, conventions, exhibitions and business events as drivers of recovery and advancement of global economic and societal development – something that will be critical once we enter the recovery phase.
As of this moment, a number of industry organizations have established repositories of information and resources on their web sites, and there is an effort to cross-link these for optimal effect. AIPC has just now completed a new resource in the form of the AIPC Guidance for Good Practices for COVID-19 as an addendum to our recently released Security Guidelines for Convention Centres document and this is now available to all AIPC members via the web site.
In the meantime event cancellations and postponements will continue as countries step up measures to contain the virus, and we are all feeling and sharing the pain. However, and most importantly, we need to stand united with the health authorities and COVID-19 management task forces and do our part as it is only through national partnerships and coordinated global efforts that we can weather this storm.
Like all crises, we know two things about this one: first, that it will eventually pass and secondly that it will be followed by others in the future. By creating a measured, effective and above all consolidated approach here, we will not only be addressing today’s needs but laying the groundwork for future challenges.

AIPC President
Aloysius Arlando