The Hellenic Association of Professional Congress Organizers (HAPCO) recently called on Greek and international authorities and organizations to support and promote the MICE industry in its efforts to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and make a strong comeback once the pandemic subsides.
The association estimates that since the start of the crisis, 25 percent of conferences and events in Greece and abroad have been canceled. Furthermore, 60 percent of conferences have been postponed for 2021 or 2022, while 15 percent will be replaced in the future by online events.
Since the start of the pandemic, HAPCO has been in close collaboration with Greece’s tourism bodies including the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and the Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies (HATTA), as well as international MICE associations such as the International Federation of Exhibition & Event Services (IFES), looking to support the efforts for the restart of the MICE industry.
“We must find ways to promote Greece, in order for its MICE industry to achieve growth – something that is likely to happen from May 2021 onwards… as long as there is not a new outbreak, and we receive positive news on the treatment of COVID-19,” HAPCO said in a recent letter to its members.
“We are waiting for the relevant ministries and bodies to issue guidelines, hoping that very soon, we will be able to find a solution for the country’s MICE industry, which currently involves hundreds of middle-sized enterprises.”
Meanwhile, European authorities are also expected to issue protocols for the operation of the MICE market.
IFES has proposed to EU member states not to include conferences, business events and exhibitions in their guidelines for public events such as festivals and concerts, since the MICE industry concerns special, relatively small audiences.
Moreover, “as new technologies change the international MICE industry, online conferences will soon become a new reality that the sector won’t be able to ignore. However, nothing can replace the dynamic and networking opportunities of ‘face-to-face’ events,” HAPCO concludes.