Adjustable scheduling, employment subsidies for affected providers, and flexible tax and insurance contribution payments are some of the proposals tabled by the Hellenic Association of Professional Congress Organizers (HAPCO) so as to limit the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the sector.
Addressing HAPCO’s 10th Panhellenic Conference last week in Athens, the president of the International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO), Ori Lahav admitted that Covid-19 was turning into one of the most challenging situations the global MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry has ever faced.
“The majority of events are now currently postponed or canceled worldwide,” he said.
In view of the cancelations and the imminent economic impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, HAPCO on Monday underlined the need to introduce support measures for the meetings and events sector and for the services providers involved, including hotels, conference venues, transport services, and other travel and tourism-related services.
The proposals come after the health ministry suspended all conferences and events in Greece for four weeks, which HAPCO notes is bound to have repercussions for the next six months at least.
Measures suggested for the events and conferences sector include flexible payment and cancellation policies; lifting restrictions with regards to dates and destinations for scientific / medical conferences until Covid-19-related measures are lifted internationally; supporting sector suppliers (conference centers and hotels, satellite hotels, airlines, food companies, printing and construction companies); supporting businesses, travel agents and firms involved in the organization of conferences and events; and lastly introducing wage and insurance contribution subsidies in order to safeguard employers and employees and prevent dismissals which will lead to unemployment.