Last month, we had the opportunity to come together as a meetings and business-events industry to promote the value of face-to-face meetings. On April 6, more than 100 events were held in nearly 25 countries across six continents as part of the second annual Global Meetings Industry Day, a Meetings Mean Business Coalition initiative. These events — which ranged from rallies, to tweet chats, to education events — helped demonstrate the measurable impact that meetings have on businesses, economies, and communities.
In my opinion, this day couldn’t have come at a better time. Let’s face it: With nationalist sentiments growing in many parts of the world, a proposed travel ban in the United States, and recent terrorist attacks, people need meetings now more than ever.
We need a way to connect with real people face-to-face, to explore new ideas and new ways of thinking with people from different walks of life and in different parts of the world. And we need to keep commerce opportunities ﬂowing — both in the communities that host meetings and for the businesses that count on their face-to-face events to accomplish important objectives.
Certainly, there is a need to balance national security with beneﬁcial travel. But in an industry that is centered on bringing people together, no one wants to overdo travel restrictions with the unintended effect of creating a perception that our nation is unsafe or unwelcoming to visitors.
Unfortunately, global terrorism is a real threat, as the high-proﬁle attack in London in March demonstrates. Now, more than ever, event organizers must address potential risks and communicate their efforts with potential attendees. But we can’t let fear over-shadow the positive impacts of travel for business events.
In recent years, PCMA has expanded its educational offerings around the globe, and we’re looking forward to learning and sharing with business-event professionals in the coming months in Europe and Asia — at PCMA Business School at IMEX (Frankfurt, Germany, May 15–18), the PCMA Euro-pean Inﬂuencers Summit (Monaco, June 25–27), Singapore MICE Forum (in partnership with SACEOS, July 27–28), and the PCMA Global Professionals Conference – APAC (Bangkok, Thailand, Aug. 29–31).
PCMA is committed to face-to-face education events around the world, and we view them as critical ways of connecting business-event professionals beyond our borders. We may come from different cultures or have different business customs, but we are united in our common goals and certainly have much to learn from each other. We hope you can take part in one of these events — and don’t forget PCMA Education Conference 2017 in New York City next month, which may be a little closer to home.