Polish Tourism Organisation - Poland Convention Bureau joined Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and Seoul Tourism Organisation as a partner of the comprehensive UIA Survey on COVID-19 Impact on International Association Meetings conducted in March-October 2021 among 25,000 international associations worldwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the global travel and meetings industry and on the meetings behaviour of international associations. Exploring that impact and finding out the consequences is the focus of the special UIA Survey 2021 – COVID-19 Impact on International Association Meetings. The Survey will try to determine the changes in approach of associations when planning and organising their international events: the shift in their needs, expectations and technological approach.
The UIA team will describe, in text, graphics and tables, how associations are dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic impact and the areas of concern for associations, focusing mainly on their meeting activities: dealing with events cancelled and/or changed in their format (online/hybrid), perspectives for re-establishment of in-person programmes, technology challenges, the role of social media, the economic impact on the associations’ future, their expectations in a relationship with Convention Bureaux, etc.
More than 25,000 organisations listed in UIA’s Yearbook of International Organisations and known to have any kind of international meeting or event activity are invited to participate. Each association will receive an individual login allowing it to complete a Survey with 19 questions – 15 of these with multiple choice answers. In addition, the Survey will be available to the public on UIA’s website.
“The UIA Surveys are the largest surveys looking into the meetings behaviour of all the diverse types of international associations. High rates of participation make the UIA Surveys an indispensable source of information for all branches involved in the meetings industry. UIA contacts the associations by sending postal invitations to 15,000 organizations, alongside 25,000 monthly email invitations. Reaching so many international associations is a major challenge. For the UIA Survey 2021 and the Report the UIA is being supported by its sponsors Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Seoul Tourism Organization and Polish Tourism Organisation - Poland Convention Bureau”, said Clara Fernández López, External Relations Manager of the Union of International Associations and Member of the Executive Board of the International Youth Library Foundation.
The most recent edition of the Survey was held in 2020. It revealed that 82% of respondents hold at least one major international meeting every three years. 44% of these associations hold their meetings annually. 54% of meetings have a length of two to three days.
The Survey showed that, in 2020, 41% of the associations responding did not offer options for remote participation in their meetings. 21% were not considering options for remote participation at all. UIA expects the forthcoming Survey may show a shift in this behaviour.
“Polish Tourism Organisation, together with Poland Convention Bureau operating within its structures, has been a member of UIA for a decade. Now is a good time not only to celebrate the anniversary, but also to contribute to the development of a comprehensive survey that will advance the global meetings industry. From the perspective of a destination management organisation, I am particularly interested in the associations’ changing attitude to cooperation with Convention Bureaux. In 2020 as many as 33% of international associations involved in the Survey admitted they were not yet familiar with the free services offered by a Convention Bureau, and only 12% had ever used the services in question. According to UIA forecasts, the increasingly online-oriented formula of meetings and events in 2021 will result in need for more technical support and show an increase interest in partnerships with Convention Bureaux. We are prepared for this scenario. Our sector has instantly adapted to the new reality, introducing solutions making it possible to arrange top-quality events that are not only safe, but also technologically advanced. Dedicated studios facilitate the process of organising hybrid events and more and more agencies specialise in related professional services. Video controls, sound operators, lighting console operators and camera operators all work on delivering live broadcasts. The #VirtualEvents offer of the Poznań-based MTP Group, studios of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre and the Lublin Conference Centre are just some of the many great examples. In other words, COVID-19 sped up a phenomenon that has been discussed for a long time now, namely the blending of online and offline. The time has come to recognise the bright spots of the pandemic-imposed change and to start taking advantage of its potential. This is precisely what is happening now in Poland! As Polish Tourism Organisation - Poland Convention Bureau we want to make sure that this messages reaches the broadest possible audience. Our partnership with UIA offers precisely this opportunity”, said Aneta Książek, Head of Poland Convention Bureau.
The Report on COVID-19 Impact on International Association Meetings will be released on 18 November 2021 at the annual UIA Associate Members Meeting in Prague and be freely available to the public on the UIA’s website in three language versions: English, French and Spanish. The UIA expects that the forthcoming Survey will reveal the fields where associations and industry can cooperate in order to redefine events and make association congresses, meetings, conferences, etc. a success for everyone – the association, the delegates and consequently for the destination.
As a research institute and a documentation centre, the UIA for more than 100 years has collected and disseminated information on the market of international meetings of non-profit organisations and global organisations, as well as on the directions and trends of their evolution. On 10 May 2020 the UIA published the 61st edition of the International Meetings Statistics Report 2020. Covering 2019 data, the ranking of meetings destinations listed Poland higher than in the year before. The UIA publishes the annual International Meeting Statistics Report on the basis of data collected on meetings matching the following four criteria: they last at three days, they gather at least 300 participants, at least five nationalities are represented and at least 40% of the participants are from countries other than the host country.