“After the meetings industry’s total collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a gradual reopening of our operations, we are now trying to adjust to the ‘new normal’. Trends shaping the business events sector for the past few years, including digitalisation, sustainable growth and increased need for safety, have now become absolutely crucial. Among our main tasks, establishing new relations with meetings industry stakeholders (suppliers, partners and customers) needs to be combined with caring for the natural environment and local community”, says Anna Jędrocha, coordinator of Meetings Week Poland 2020, Vice President of Polish Conference and Congress Association.
Jędrocha explains that “In the everyday struggle for the survival of our companies we often claim that this is not the right time for sustainable development. We already know that the support received as part of the so-called anti-crisis shields will be enough for only a very short period of time. We will need to put even more efforts to restore the demand for our services. For this purpose, we must not miss the opportunity to rebuild a meetings industry community. After all, there are no meetings without participants”.
This is precisely why Meetings Week Poland 2020 will use a brand-new formula to tackle all the latest crucial issues for the meetings industry. The eighth edition of MWP, originally intended to take place in spring, has been rescheduled to September 16-17th and will adopt a hybrid formula. With participants and speakers meeting in five cities at the same time, the whole event will also be available for online attendants. MWP partnered up with the following venues: FHouse Warsaw, ICE Kraków Congress Centre, International Congress Centre & Spodek PTWP Event Center in Katowice, MTP Poznań Congress Center Group, Lublin Conference Centre and Novotel Centrum Warszawa. Brill AV Media will connect all of these settings for the purposes of the live event.
“We are ready to stage safe events and wish to re-enter the market. We want Poland’s vibrant and bustling meetings industry to return and develop in harmony with the requirements of our clients”, emphasises Anna Jędrocha.
MWP is organised by: Polish Conference and Congress Association, MPI Poland Chapter, Event Industry Association, Association of Incentive Travel Organisers, SITE Poland, Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry, Poland Convention Bureau of Polish Tourism Organisation, Vistula School of Hospitality in Warsaw, The Warsaw Voice, MeetingPlanner.pl and Warsaw Tourism Organisation.
The two-day event will be divided into several sessions, whose agenda is developed by particular involved trade organisations.
The sessions planned for September 16th will be held simultaneously in five cities. The participants that will prefer to attend online will be able to both choose from a wide range of lectures and discussion panels and take part in meetings with partners in specially prepared virtual rooms.
The first session presents a new formula of The Warsaw Voice’s Poland Meetings Destination conference dedicated to challenges and prospects. The key question posed by the organisers is whether today in Poland emphasis should be placed on developing a meetings sector that stimulates the growth of economy as a whole, on its innovative character and investment attractiveness. After years of expectations and efforts on the part of the whole industry, shortly before the pandemic outbreak, tourism was moved to the Ministry of Development in a decision that underlined its connection to economy rather than sports. New measures and tools will be created to boost tourism development. Can the meetings sector expect support of similar type? Will a local tourist tax be introduced? Are MICE professionals able to impact the positive directions of transformations?
The session will be attended by, i.a. Andrzej Gut-Mostowy, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Development, and Arkadiusz Opoń, Vice President of Polish Tourism Organisation, who will discuss the condition and prospects of the meetings industry. Representatives of public administration and local government, entrepreneurs and Polish Congress Ambassadors will take place in a panel discussion attempting to outline the development courses for the kind of meetings industry that is expected in times of increased health risk.
The session arranged by Polish Conference and Congress Association and Polish Convention Bureau of POT is dedicated to sustainable development as the basis of meetings industry’s reconstruction. Its organisers have invited eminent experts in the discussed field - Claudia van’t Hullenaar of Global Destination Sustainable Index and Jane Cunningham of BestCities Global Alliance, who will present the current operational models of sustainable cities, venues and companies. A complementary discussion panel will have participants share examples of innovative solutions in the area of planning business meetings at home and worldwide, introduced to boost the competitive edge in a dynamically changing reality dominated by COVID-19. The session is intended to answer the following questions: How has the meetings industry changed during the pandemic and can it be rebuilt in the spirit of sustainable development? Can the positive impact of staging business events change companies and the world, overcome barriers and inspire local communities in the “new normal”?
The last session of the first day - “Trade shows offer more - we are back/B2B trade shows - Back to business - A safe return” - is implemented by Polish Chamber of the Exhibition Industry, which joined the list of MWP organisers. The meeting will address the chances that the discussed companies have of re-entering the market after a slower period, of growing and rebuilding lost business relationships. In addition, the meeting is intended to demonstrate that the companies in question are resilient, have successfully withstood the crisis and now are back with new solutions. Staged in accordance with all the expected safety regulations, trade shows are meant to play a crucial role in this business recovery, making it possible to rebuild relations. Nick Dugdale-Moore, Regional Manager Europe, UFI, will deliver the keynote speech.
On the second day the sessions will be staged live in Warsaw, with online participation as a viable alternative.
Co-organised by Event Industry Association, Association of Incentive Travel Organisers and SITE Poland, the first meeting will be centred on the prospects of trade organisations, the challenges faced by the sector of events and meetings, as well as the operations of the Council of the Meetings and Events Industry, recently established by relevant institutions.
Hosted by MPI Poland Chapter, the session on safety and security in the meetings industry will analyse various aspects of safety. The titular issue is among the educational priorities of MPI Global and has gained particular significance due to challenges connected with the COVID-19 pandemic. MPI published The Essential Guide to Safety and Security. Best Practices for Meeting and Event Planning and launched the annual Risk Management Conclave. Highlights of the resultant safety-themed compendium will be brought up and discussed in detail during the session. Crowd management expert Paul Foster will attend as special guest.
The final event of MWP 2020, the Vistula Compasses Gala is staged by Vistula School of Hospitality in Warsaw to honour its graduates - laureates of the first edition of the Vistula Compasses competition.
The event is free for both onsite and online participants. For a detailed agenda and a registration form, see www.meetingsweek.pl (PL)