As a past chair of JMIC, the Joint Meetings Industry Council, I have always followed closely what excellent content they have provided on their website since we started the ‘Meetings Mean Business‘ campaign. Only a few months ago, JMIC published its Global Manifesto as a meetings & events industry rationale for the use of business events as primary agents for post-pandemic economic recovery and renewal.
Tasked with the need to re-start economies devastated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments right now need tools and platforms that can advance a broad-based recovery in the most effective ways.
We all recognize that the primary value of the Meetings & Events Industry is the role it plays in facilitating and supporting essential exchanges in the areas of professional, corporate, academic and social development. These are integral to not only economic advancement but societal development as a whole.
This sector is therefore a critical element in delivering recovery as well as transition and renewal that can be immediately utilized by governments
responding to these requirements. JMIC articulates these pathways on its website and promotes a set of consistent, high-level arguments in the form of a ready to use PPT document and Infographic. This way they help you make your case that our industry should be utilized as a strategic tool for recovery, transition, and renewal.
Business Events as Strategic Tools for Driving Post-Pandemic Recovery and Renewal
JMIC’s position is that the meetings and events industry, which comprises a range of efficiently interconnected organizers, service providers, suppliers and facilities engaged in the development and delivery of meetings, conferences, exhibitions and related activities (collectively referred to as business events) can and should be utilized as a highly efficient and cost-effective vehicle for driving economic recovery and renewal by providing an essential platform for the economic, academic, professional and business interactions required to re-ignite these sectors.
JMIC offers 15 pathways for recovery. You can be inspired by them by downloading the infographic from this link: JMIC-Industry-Manifesto-infographic.pdf (themeetingsindustry.org)
Important policy implications
To be applied in a practical way, the 15 arguments described in the Infographic can and need to be embedded in government policies and structure. A starting point for this process is an acknowledgment that:
- Business events are not public gatherings but highly controlled assemblies and should be classified and distinguished as distinct from generic mass gatherings for the purposes of re-opening policies.
- Business events are economic, scientific and professional in nature and only incidentally tourism-related (in that they support the hospitality economy). They should therefore be seen in the context of trade, economic development, social and investment policies rather than tourism policy..
- There should be an effort to align business events and overall government policy priorities so that events with the greatest potential to support / advance those priorities (health, education, innovation, major events) can be targeted and more effectively utilized for this purpose.
- Existing investments in infrastructure and institutions should be reviewed for their potential to enhance competitiveness in the business events market. Financial support and increased competitiveness can often be delivered by offering relief to event organizers for the use of existing government-owned facilities rather than creating new incentive programs.
- With governments today being called upon to articulate and demonstrate a vision for both health and safety management and economic recovery, business events can be incorporated into such strategies as strategic tools to achieve the stated goals.