In an open letter from the leadership of the meetings and events industry, namely the American Society of Association Executives, Destinations International, Events Industry Council, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, International Association of Venue Managers, Meeting Professionals International, PCMA, and the U.S. Travel Association, this message was sent out concerning Coronavirus COVID-19:
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We share the concern about the coronavirus and the questions this challenge presents. The health and wellbeing of the public is always paramount. The goal, of course, in any moment of public health concern is to be guided by expert information, grounded in scientific and medical data, and sourced from public health and government authorities.
As numerous organizations determine plans related to conducting meetings, conferences, conventions and trade shows—where people gather in sizable groups to conduct business—we strongly encourage decisions to be based in facts rather than fear, given the enormity of the impact to the workforce that supports the events industry.
While experts are saying to be prudent and practice best-health recommendations that are similar to the prevention of the seasonal flu, public health authorities are not saying there should be restrictions on business or leisure travel anywhere in the United States. That’s a critically important point: there is no official guidance that travel plans in the U.S. should be curtailed or cancelled.
We are firmly committed to heeding the expert guidance of public health authorities and prepared to shift as the situation dictates, but absent any official notification that travel should be limited in any way, we encourage the unimpeded continuation of travel in the U.S.
Many organizations (our own included) are continuing to organize and hold meetings and events around the United States, and we applaud and support the decision to safely do so, not only for the continuity of business, but for the millions of American workers that travel supports every day.
The decision to cancel meetings and events creates significant impact on the American economy and to the workers whose jobs and livelihoods are affected by reductions in these events.
We stand in support of the message issued by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition that promotes the latest guidance and expert advice and urges the continuation of meeting and event travel.
American Society of Association Executives
Susan Robertson, Interim President and CEO
Don Welsh, President and CEO
Events Industry Council
Amy Calvert, CEO
International Association of Exhibitions and Events
David DuBois, President and CEO
International Association of Venue Managers
Brad Mayne, CVE, President and CEO
Meeting Professionals International
Paul M. Van Deventer, President and CEO
Sherrif Karamat, President & CEO
U.S. Travel Association
Roger Dow, President and CEO