Ignite

Special Mini Edition 2020

A fresh resource for people who plan and manage meetings, events, business travel, promotions and incentive programs. Providing you with inspiration, guidance and great ideas.

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We Will Bounce Back Clark Grue, chair of Meetings Mean Business Canada, shares his insights on how the industry can respond and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Oh, how our world has changed. I recall being in Ottawa for Tourism Hill Days on February 3 and 4. Along with fellow board members of Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMBC) we worked arm in arm with our tourism partners as we met with Ministers, MPs and Senators to elevate the importance of the industry that we all work in and support. And for the MMBC team, emphasize and elevate the business events sector in the industry. That feels like a year ago. Here we are in uncharted territory for the meetings industry and for tourism in Canada. We have basically been mandated to stand down and wait out the storm. It's a strange place to be for event enthusiasts who thrive on being busy and coordinating multiple details to make an event special or an experience unforgettable. As we navigate this new world, I know that we will not lose our passion for what we do; but we may get frustrated not being able to exercise the skills that we have honed over the years. We are now being asked to be "creative with contracts" and find ways to "stretch deposits" out into the future or even the dreaded request for a deposit refund. Difficult days indeed. In all of this, I am so proud that the MMBC board is working very hard to get the message to the government that what we do matters. It not only creates jobs (229,000) in Canada, it also stimulates economic development and leisure tourism. I can tell you that they are listening and they do understand the plight that the industry is experiencing today. Government aside, as much as I wish I could offer the industry more than a virtual group hug, we are in a holding pattern as we wait for the wave of COVID-19 to pass through our $2.5 trillion US global industry. I think we all recognize that until we see the flattening of the curve for this virus, we have to wait…and prepare. But prepare for what? As we navigate this new world, I know that we will not lose our passion for what we do " " Prepare for a rapid bounce back. I feel strongly that we will see a rebound of event activity in Canada similar to what we experienced with SARS in 2003: A strong and quick rebound once the issue was contained and controlled. I wish I could tell you when this will happen, but I can't. But what I can tell you is that this will pass. Soon enough we will all be working our tails off trying to handle too many details for our clients in order to make their event amazing. It is just what we do. C l a rk Gr u e Ignitemag.ca | 9

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