Iceland volcano ash cloud stifles international meetings activity
Friday 30, April 2010
A survey of ICCA member companies has revealed the massive global impact of the recent volcanic ash-induced European no-fly zone.
The no-fly zone has hit the international association sector as well as corporate meetings, triggering cancellations, postponements and delegate reductions in this previously resilient sector, something the current economic crisis has failed to achieve. Whilst European events were most badly affected (over 70% reporting negative impacts), conferences held in locations as far distant as the West Coast of North America and the Malaysian state of Sarawak also suffered, with reduced delegate attendances, missing keynote speakers, and frustrated organisers.
But the survey also revealed the many creative ways in which ICCA members worked with clients to mitigate the damage caused by this crisis: numerous events have been rebooked at no extra charge; cancellation and attrition clauses have been relaxed; massive efforts have been made to assist and communicate with delegates. Many smaller events have been replaced by video conferencing, some larger events converted into "hybrid meetings" by combining a live audience with webcasting for those who couldn't make it through the ash.
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said: "This unprecedented shut-down challenged our industry as never before, and has been a massive wake-up call for us to think about how we will deal with the inevitable future crises. What it also demonstrated is the vital importance of strong long-term working relationships between suppliers and meeting planners - this is not a time for either party to insist on contractual small-print, and if there has been one heart-warming aspect from our survey it was to hear so many stories of collaboration and flexibility."
ICCA will be organising a morning seminar on the Iceland volcano and its implications at IMEX on Tuesday 25 May.
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