The whole world in the same boat, facing questions about “the new normal”.

The whole world in the same boat, whatever the local variations in pandemic spread may be. If there is one overarching theme that emerges from all content published in this 80th issue, it is that of “the new normal”. What is “the new normal” now going to be? Are clients and delegates going to be accept and put up with it or stay home? Will policymakers think it enough to permit industry reopening and recovery?

In News this issue of Business Events World, the NHS Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL London has been placed on standby and will no longer admit patients. The facility opened at the start of April and treated 51 people in its first three weeks. Meanwhile, the Cape Town International Convention Centre is being turned into a temporary COVID-19 hospital for up to 800 patients. CTICC is waiving its hire costs.

In other pandemic News, Expo 2020 Dubai will officially now run from October 1st 2021 to March 31st 2022. Two-thirds of the Bureau International des Expositions member states have voted to delay the event a year. Certification from the Global BioRisk Advisory Council could help to restart face-to-face events and to assuage attendee concerns. The USA’s two largest convention venues have already signed up. UFI, the exhibition industry’s global association, has posted a framework for the safe and controlled resumption of exhibitions and trade events internationally. The Iceberg partner also welcomed a call by Germany to segment its classification of “mass gatherings”. This makes trade shows and exhibitions events that are allowed again now by German states under certain conditions.

Also in News this issue, Iceberg partner the International Congress and Convention Association has been terribly busy. ICCA and CIMERT (the Center of International Meetings Research and Training) have released a first report on their research into the effects of COVID-19 on the events industry. A brand new summit to improve global healthcare meetings has been launched by ICCA and AC Forum. The first Future of Global Healthcare Meetings is scheduled for Spring 2021. 2019’s ICCA statistics list 13,254 rotating association meetings, the highest ever figure, and an increase of 317 over 2018’s record peak. Paris has taken the top city spot for the second year in a row, pulling even further ahead of other European destinations. Plus, as mentioned stop press at the end of last issue, Iceberg partner AIPC (the International Association of Convention Centres) has appointed Sven Bossu as its first CEO. Bossu was previously MD for Innovation at ESTRO (the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology). Up to 15,000 sector professionals will descend on Copenhagen in 2023 when the Danish capital will also be named World Capital of Architecture and host the World Congress of Architects.

There are two more venue stories on The Iceberg itself (click View all News). New Zealand entered Alert Level 3 on April 28th, so construction has restarted on the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre. Finally, the 2023 Gateshead Quays arena, conference and exhibition centre has just passed a major milestone with its planning application now submitted.

All twelve Opinions this issue are fresh, and four are about associations. In the third piece of a series, Iceberg partner Boardroom’s Advisory Board talks about “standing stronger together”. Early this year the Geneva International Association Forum (GIAF) was launched. The meeting was scheduled for June, and right now is still set to go ahead face-to-face. Trade associations have a vital role to play in both industry and wider world recovery. So argues Jennifer Jenkins, PCO Lead and Director at British agency Worldspan. Plus Martin Sirk, International Advisor of our partner the Global Association Hubs Partnership, has recorded a great podcast interview with James Lancaster of AMI. Listen to what he says about event legacy at 25’50”. Apologies for the cheeky “selfie” intro Martin, and the new GAHP website looks great (see below).

The theme of “the new normal” continues for other sectors in Opinions. COVID-19 implications cut to the heart of what incentive travel is. Will the pandemic in fact kill off this sector? It will not, says SoolNua and SITE’s Pádraic Gilligan. What does the pandemic mean for exhibitions in future? Reed Exhibition’s former Chairman and CEO Mike Rusbridge, and former Commercial Director Nick Forster, offer thoughts. Smyle Founder and Group Executive Director Rick Stainton, has a long-range view on current economic conditions, delegate appetite for business travel, and also the mix of virtual and hybrid. Meetings professionals will need to have a flexible mindset and to adapt and evolve after coronavirus. Patrick Smith, Senior Vice President and CMO of Cvent, said as much during EduMonday on the Iceberg partner IMEX’s new virtual platform PlanetIMEX. “The new normal” is itself an irritating phrase. While the transition to virtual is one “new normal” we can take seriously, is anything else about “the new normal” actually “normal” at all? Plus, if you’re planning to attend the Voice of Healthcare Summit 2020 in Boston this August, you’ll be signing a waiver releasing organiser Metrock from liability, taking an initial COVID-19 test and then having daily checks of temperature.

Two final Opinions are about destinations. European Cities Marketing just published “The DMMO COVID-19 Continuity Checklist” (already available in Research). In an exclusive ECM webinar the Iceberg partner’s co-publisher Toposophy guides you through the document. Scotland has just sent a resounding message to the world’s business events community in the wake of the country’s lockdown: “we will wait for you”. I’ve illustrated this story with the tale of Scottish King-to-be Robert the Bruce learning a famous lesson in patience from a spider spinning its web. As I think about it, I should have just quoted Auld Lang Syne (“Should old acquaintance be forgot”…).

There are two fresh articles in Features this issue. Toulouse recently joined Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Index, and its imminent LEED certified MEETT Convention Centre shows further green commitment. Plus, how July 2019 saw a new era begin for Malaysia’s youngest after the 2nd Sarawak Conference on Inclusive Early Childhood Education. Pre-school is never too early to be creating meetings legacies!

In Research you’ll find added two papers by Iceberg partners already mentioned, UFI’s Global Framework for Reopening Exhibitions and B2B Trade Events alongside ICCA and CIMERT’s The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the International Meetings Industry. BVEP (the Business Visits & Events Partnership) has now published The UK Events Report – How Events Deliver the UK’s Industrial Strategy. The latest PCMA (the Professional Convention Management Association) Convene’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard is also up, with the last one relabelled for date clarity. Plus, the webinar mentioned above have been added to the existing page for European Cities Marketing and Toposophy’s The DMMO COVID-19 Continuity Checklist.

This issue’s parish notices start with previously published coronavirus resource pages from within our own partner community: the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), IMEX Group, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), plus publications Meetings & Incentive Travel (M&IT)Association Meetings International (AMI) and Boardroom. The latter has just launched “Digital Boardroom” to help readers curate preferred content (see LinkedIn or Twitter video and details).

UFI’s resources page is updated with the association’s new Global Framework for Reopening Exhibitions and B2B Trade Events, published also in Research. UFI has posted as well an infographic on industry losses of socio-economic impact, an article on China clearing the way to restart exhibitions, details of the upcoming Global Exhibitions Day (June 3rd), and a May message from President Mary Larkin.

The European Exhibition Industry Alliance (EEIA), a partnership between UFI and EMECA (the European Major Exhibition Centres Association) has posted Exhibitions and Live Events are the Fast Track to Economic Recovery.

UFI’s UFI Connects sessions have reached first milestonesIceberg partner IBTM’s IBTM Connect – Keep the Conversation Going is launching a series of interviews with industry personalities. IMEX Group’s PlanetIMEX is now live.

Iceberg partner GainingEdge has posted the advisories COVID-19 and Destination PromotersPutting Some Order to the ChaosWhat to Ask Associations Beyond “Will You Be Rebooking?”, and Partnerships and Collaboration: Now Even More Essential, plus Bulletin: COVID-19 Issue #1, Issue #2 and Issue #3.

Iceberg partner European Cities Marketing has posted “A New Tomorrow” ECM COVID-19 Response.

To these we add ASAE’s Associations Now Today’s Coronavirus Tracker. ASAE will now deliver a Virtual Annual Meeting and Exposition the week of August 10th.

There are also association resources aplenty at the new website of Iceberg partner the Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP).

There are further resources at the Events Industry Council (EIC), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) and at Meetings Mean Business. Northstar Meetings Group has posted a running list of New Dates for Events and Conventions Postponed Due to Coronavirus. Northstar has also Launched a New Survey to Gauge the Future of Meetings and Events in the Era of COVID-19.

Iceberg partner Positive Impact Events is seeking 100,000 event professionals to build the future of the industry. There is a great video here.

The Meetings Show 2020 in the United Kingdom has been postponed until October due to COVID-19.

Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban scheduled for May 12th – 14th has been cancelled.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has made a statement on turning the Cape Town International Convention Centre into a COVID-19 hospital.

Event agency trailblazer David Hackett has died aged 70, after a long battle with cancer.

Iceberg partner Talley Management Group, Inc. has appointed Virtual Meeting Expert Derrick Johnson to its team.

Iceberg partner Meetings International has written an article about the new website, which provides free access to information on virus restrictions so people can plan their next business or family trip.

Finally and as always, The Iceberg reiterates its call for you to join our Global Ambassador Program. You can see ambassadors listed on The Iceberg homepage, Ambassadors page, and in Business Events World below. Visit Call for Ambassadors 2019 & 2020 to find out more.

Until the next time (in lieu of “the old normal”)…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


Showing Featured Features

View all Features


Showing Featured News

View all News

JMIC Case Studies

Showing Featured JMIC Case Studies

View all JMIC Case Studies


Showing Featured Research

View all Research


Showing Featured Opinions

View all Opinions


Showing Featured Events

View all Events


Showing Featured Ambassadors

View all Ambassadors


Showing Featured Publications

View all Publications

Partner Spotlight

Showing Partners

View all Partners