24/06/2020

mia calls for clarity as it releases reopening support for the sector

The Meetings Industry Association is calling for clarity on a reopening date for the business meetings and events sector as it launches its latest support.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “We were extremely disappointed that yesterday’s announcement did not provide any clarity for our sector. Without a start date, the social distancing reduction to 1m is totally irrelevant and has a potentially devastating impact on our industry that currently provides over 700,000 jobs to a diverse and highly skilled UK-based workforce. 

“Continuing to work in collaboration with BVEP, the mia will be pushing Government to provide clear guidance on when business conferences, events, exhibitions and trade fairs will be allowed to take place. We understand that a further announcement is due to be made in mid-July but we will be continuing our persistent campaigning and communication with the Government urging for a clear steer on reopening as we’re aware that venues are already making difficult long-term decisions on their future business models and workforce, based on yesterday’s statement.”

Meanwhile, the mia has developed a package of support to assist venues with their reopening preparations, as well as provide crucial reassurance to help encourage customer confidence and build future trade.

The association has published a dedicated roadmap that is signposted as a key resource in both the Government’s ‘Visitor Economy Guidance’ as well as UK Hospitality’s COVID-Secure advice for the hospitality industry.

Based on extensive national and international research, the vital framework has already received critical acclaim from booking agents including Calder Conferences and Trinity Event Solutions as well as ABPCO, the association directly representing professional conference organisers.

The roadmap considers the safety of both an operator’s staff and clients throughout the entire customer journey and guides venue operators through their risk assessment preparations.

It is designed to help venues to consider the best course of action for their own operation. In some instances it details the minimum requirements, while in others it asks organisations to consider taking additional steps to ensure the sector plays its part in rebuilding confidence.

Meanwhile, the mia has enhanced AIM – the UK’s only national quality accreditation for venues. It’s new brand AIM Secure features the vital infection prevention and control protocols.

Over the coming weeks, all AIM accredited venues will need to meet the new criteria, to be awarded the increased quality standard, which will clearly demonstrate to buyers an organisation’s commitment to offering a first-class service safely and responsibly for the health of staff and customers.

Jane said: “While we push for clarity, it is crucial that venues continue their reopening preparations. As our roadmap has been signposted by the Government and UK Hospitality, venues can confidently use our guidance to develop their risk assessments. Without one in place – a venue will simply be unable to reopen.”

She added: “Business will come back if we all play our part in preparing methodically and meticulously to rebuild confidence. We’ll shortly be contacting all AIM accredited venues to complete the new infection prevention and control protocols to ensure they can reassure buyers that they are meeting the enhanced standard.”

To download a copy of the Roadmap to reopening and operating safely and to sign up to receive future updates of the guidance, please visit: https://www.mia-uk.org/Safety-Resources

Copies of the mia’s contract guidance, which was launched last month, can be downloaded here: https://www.mia-uk.org/COVID-19-Contract-Guidance