An increasing number of markets around the world have started to re-open business events, with varying COVID-19 protocols in place. Confidence remains the key to reassuring customers and visitors that business events can be operated in a controlled environment, whilst adhering to local regulations and policies, and minimising associated health risks.

Therefore, to support the re-opening of events and the wider exhibition industry, UFI has published the third edition of the Good Practice Guide: Addressing COVID-19 Requirements for Re-Opening Business Events. The report is produced jointly by AIPC, the international association of convention centres, ICCA, the International Convention and Congress Association, and UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry.

Driven by their joint safety and security task force, the three associations have been engaged in assisting their members, and the industry at large, since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, and the third edition of this key resource is just the latest example of this continuous support.

The guide follows a series of COVID-19-related publications released by the three associations, and is now being shared with the global exhibition community to support their work in creating conditions and safeguards that will enable the smooth re-opening of activities, whilst observing the needs and expectations of governments and health authorities.

AIPC, ICCA and UFI stress that this guidance is just that: guidance based on examples. Specific local, regional and national health, safety, environmental, compliance and legal requirements differ vastly from country to country, from service to service and from product to product, and this guidance is not intended to represent or supplant this.

Anbu Varathan, president of UFI, said: “At UFI, we are tracking the recovery of exhibitions and business events around the world. Where shows have taken place, exhibitors and visitors have expressed their satisfaction with attending shows, as well as reporting good business. This guide is a ready reckoner for global good practices, and as a service to the entire events and exhibition industry, we are making it available for all stakeholders globally. Standing together, working together – this defines our whole sector, and, for me personally, the G3 alliance between AIPC, ICCA and UFI is a wonderful example for this power of collaboration.”

Aloysius Arlando, president of AIPC, said: “Alongside resilience, event venues must demonstrate adaptability, agility and innovation in the learning and re-application of insights from emerging practices as a result of COVID-19. As the global crisis and response evolves, business visit bubbles will play a significant role in allowing business exchanges and personal interactions to happen. The world’s first bubbled business exchange, Connect@Changi in Singapore, is an important milestone in the progressive re-opening of Singapore’s borders and in facilitating face-to-face meetings between participants from different countries using approved testing regimes, without the need for quarantine in Singapore. It is a showcase of the collaborative spirit and innovation amongst like-minded partners to put in place such a facility at the Singapore EXPO and MAX Atria, in less than 14 weeks. This temporary facility is a firm reminder of the role face-to-face meetings play in bridging that important human connection, which fuels economic progress.”

James Rees, president of ICCA, commented: “With each iteration of the Good Practice Guide, we can see the difference that collaboration and knowledge-sharing make in re-starting the meetings industry. The new insights shared by convention centres offer an invaluable perspective on re-opening in the face of the current challenges caused by the pandemic. It is vital that our industry returns to face-to-face events quickly, safely and efficiently. This update is an excellent resource for any organisation in our industry to understand the very latest innovative and adaptive approaches.”

As with the previous guides, this latest publication has been a collaborative project between parties from across the industry. It draws upon the direct, practical experiences and expertise of members who are dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on a daily basis, and the three association Presidents acknowledge this invaluable contribution in making the content as relevant as possible.