Current News

Check out the latest news from around the world by the industry's movers and shakers.

COVID-19 Resource Centre

We have compiled a list of sources to help you access the latest information regarding COVID-19. Details and information surrounding COVID-19 are constantly changing. We will continue to monitor the situation and post relevant resources as they come in.


Current News

July 07, 2020
Letter Writing Campaign | Meetings Mean Business Canada | Rally for Recovery of the Business Events Sector
As Provinces and Territories slowly begin to reopen, businesses that rely on the Business Meetings and Events industry need a clear reopening plan to ensure they can weather the impacts of COVID-19.
Meetings Mean Business Canada has launched a new letter-writing campaign targeting Members of Provincial Parliaments across Canada.  By using Push Politics, we have a platform that makes it easy for you to send the message directly to your MPP, MLA, MNA or MHA that:
  • Business Meetings and Events must not be grouped under mass gatherings and that;
  • Governments must fast-track the reopening of the Business Meetings and Events Sector by working with our industry leaders now. 
Meetings Mean Business Canada is an industry-wide, coast-to-coast-to-coast coalition which is the voice of 229,000 Canadians who rely on Business Events to create jobs and opportunities for them and their families.
Sending a letter is simple and takes 30 seconds.  Please visit and click “Send Your Letter” to ask your MPP, MLA, MNA, or MHA to take immediate action by supporting this sector and saving the businesses and jobs in your community that rely on Business Meetings and Events.
I am asking that as business leaders, you also encourage your staff, suppliers and extended network to send a letter and to share this initiative on your corporate and personal social media channels – we all need to come together as one industry to ensure our voice is heard loud and clear!
Additionally, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has launched an in-depth industry survey that will cover the use of government support programs to obtain much-needed data for government in order to address support for the visitor economy. Please take the survey now.
To be clear, to ensure the survival of this industry, bold measures are needed now – within days, not weeks or months. We collectively need to activate our sector and all those that rely on Business Meetings and Events to pressure government for immediate action.
Clark Grue
Chair, Meetings Mean Business Canada
June 24, 2020
Need a lift? CN Tower to welcome guests back starting July 15, 2020

TORONTO The CN Tower announced it will welcome guests back to the CN Tower observation levels starting July 15, 2020. 

Like every business, the CN Tower has unique challenges and has determined its opening date to allow for the implementation of the safety measures required. 

"The health and safety of our staff and guests is our top priority," said Peter George, COO of the CN Tower. "We are working to ensure every measure is in place to meet or exceed public health guidelines and provide a safe, comfortable, uplifting and exhilarating experience for everyone." Timed tickets will go on sale online July 1 on the CN Tower's website,

In order to meet or exceed the recommendations of public health authorities and the Government of Ontario, the CN Tower has assessed the building from bottom to top and made adjustments to ensure physical distancing is achieved throughout the building and guest experience. The guest flow, including elevator capacity, has been reimagined to avoid bottlenecks anywhere they might occur. 

Among the measures we have taken are:

  • Cleaned, disinfecting and treatment of our entire facility, including public and staff-only areas as well as our ventilation systems, with anti-microbial shield
  • Conducted enhanced cleaning and disinfection of high-frequency touchpoints, using electrostatic disinfectant spray system, as well as hand disinfecting of high-touch and difficult-to-clean areas 
  • On an ongoing basis, we have introduced a dramatically enhanced cleaning and sanitization regimen 
  • Reconfigured or eliminated queuing to allow for physical distancing
  • Installed floor decals and signage throughout the building and property to reinforce physical distancing 
  • Reduced overall capacity 
  • Moved to timed ticketing only
  • Implemented a policy that mandates wearing a mask or face covering for everyone entering the building

Timed tickets for the reopening of the CN Tower go on sale online July 1. Visit for updates and to book tickets.

About the CN Tower

At a height of 553.33 metres (1,815 ft., 5 inches), Canada's National Tower is an engineering wonder, award-winning dining and entertainment destination, and has been Toronto's "must-see" attraction for over four decades. The CN Tower was visited by more than 1.98 million people last year. For more information

About Canada Lands Company

Canada Lands Company is a self-financing federal Crown corporation that specializes in real estate development and attractions management. Since 1995, Canada Lands has enriched Canadian communities and experiences by embracing the full potential of the properties it owns and operates. Canada Lands is a leader in attractions management with its operations of the CN Tower and Downsview Park in Toronto, the Old Port of Montréal and the Montréal Science Centre.

Canada Lands Company strives to enhance economic, social and environmental value for Canadians. It has delivered more than $1 billion in economic benefits to Canada since inception.

For more information

June 23, 2020
Iceland’s reopening leads with safety

As of June 15th the EU/EEA, EFTA and UK residents have begun to travel to Iceland. A travel restriction release eminently welcomed by both visitors and locals. This reopening is to be followed by nations outside of the Schengen Area on July 1st. All travelers and visitors alike are invited to either be conveniently tested for coronavirus upon arrival at Keflavik International Airport or go directly into a 14 day quarantine stay. 

Having successfully eliminated the virus by mid May, Iceland began to lift restrictions and announced the reopening of the border effective June 15th. Being a nation that has faced catastrophes like volcanic eruptions, avalanches and earthquakes, we were able to deal with the pandemic effectively by using a familiar method - allowing and trusting the experts and scientists to lead onward. And upward we went.  

With Iceland's stellar strategy of data-protection, including large-scale testing, tracing, and isolating - we feel confident in our reopening process while further controlling the pandemic, which will be closely monitored from every angle. As of today we have only a few Covid-19 cases, with no hospitalizations. 

The nation is confident and excited to welcome visitors again this summer. We believe that we have a lot to offer to make your holiday adventurous, safe and relaxing. Though the world is slowly emerging from lockdown we’re not expecting any high numbers in tourism, which will make this summer in Iceland the ideal Coronavirus Refuge, as titled it. 

As for the meetings industry, we have now opened gatherings for up to 500 people. Safety measures have been taken in all of the hotels, event spaces and other key venues. Restaurants are following strict guidelines, and transportation companies have implemented security strategies.

While this is still very much a developing story in the world, Iceland is ready for your arrival when you are.

June 22, 2020
Spain launches the ‘Responsible Tourism’ seal

The Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism has created the ‘Responsible Tourism’ seal for all those establishments that follow the Guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the tourism sector developed by the Secretary of State for Tourism, which are the only ones approved by the Ministry of Health.

To obtain the seal the establishment must show its commitment to follow the Guidelines. This seal is personal and non-transferable and must be renewed every year.

For the Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Oliver, “offering trust and safety is crucial at this time to attract both national and international tourists again. This seal is one more element in our strategy to reposition ourselves as a safe tourism destination worldwide. In addition, it serves to recognize the responsibility of those entrepreneurs who make an effort to create a safe environment in their respective businesses not only for tourists but for their own workers and residents”.

The ‘Guidelines for reducing the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the tourism sector’ contain specifications of service, cleaning and disinfection, maintenance and management of risk for different subsectors of the tourist sector, and will be the framework for the creation of standards at a global level, following an agreement adopted within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The Guidelines can be downloaded at:

June 22, 2020
Travel Alberta announces $17 million investment to help restart Alberta's tourism industry

CALGARY, AB, June 22, 2020 /CNW/ - Three new federal and provincial funding programs for Alberta destination management organizations and tourism businesses are addressing key areas of need, as identified in a recent Travel Alberta industry COVID-19 impact survey: 

  1. $4 million – Alberta Destination Management Organization (DMO) COVID-19 Operational Relief Program
    Through a partnership between Travel Alberta and Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), this joint funding program will provide temporary operational funding to nine of Alberta's primary DMOs serving the cities and Rockies: Tourism Calgary; Edmonton Tourism; Banff & Lake Louise Tourism; Tourism Jasper; Tourism Canmore Kananaskis; Tourism Medicine Hat; Tourism Red Deer; Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association; and Explore Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray). WD is contributing $1.45 million with a further $2.55 million from Travel Alberta's budget to help ensure the future sustainability of these DMOs and their ability to support community tourism businesses as they reopen. 

  2. $4 million – Destination Canada Domestic Funding Program
    Destination Canada is providing a one-time contribution to Alberta's four largest city/community DMOs, that are major contributors to provincial revenues and employment. The funding to Tourism Calgary, Edmonton Tourism, Banff & Lake Louse Tourism and Tourism Jasper, who traditionally work with Destination Canada, will support regional promotional initiatives this summer and winter.

    Destination Canada's $4 million contribution will amplify Travel Alberta's own $4 million investment in regional campaigns to responsibly inspire Albertans to explore the province as provincial health guidelines allow. It will also support content creation to drive future visitation to Alberta in spring and summer 2021 and beyond.

  3. $5 million – Travel Alberta Cooperative Investment Program
    This grant program, 100 per cent funded by Travel Alberta, supports private sector tourism businesses, municipalities and non-profits through two funding streams related to product/experience development and partnership marketing investment to drive responsible travel and cash flow to businesses. Applications for the summer intake are now being accepted through to June 30, 2020.

"From the Rockies to the Badlands, it's not hard to see why visitors are drawn to Alberta. Yet tourism and those whose livelihoods depend on it have been hit hard by COVID-19, and we're here for them. This investment will help more Albertans discover the wonders of their own backyard, while supporting local jobs in tourism. Our message to Alberta tourism is clear: we've been here for you with immediate measures, we're here for you now as our economy reopens and we'll get through this together. We're working with you to support good jobs and help tourism bounce back stronger than ever."
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

"Tourism has been hit hard by COVID-19. The tourism industry is the fourth largest employment sector in the province, it's a key contributor to our economy, and it creates jobs and revenue that so many communities across our province depend on. Travel Alberta is taking action to address important needs, support destination management organizations and tourism businesses, and accelerate our tourism industry's recovery."
The Honourable Tanya Fir, MLA for Calgary-Peigan and Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism

"In a recent COVID-19 industry assessment survey conducted by Travel Alberta, tourism partners clearly told us which support systems will have the greatest impact in helping them remain viable and adapt to the changes resulting from COVID-19, including operational funding and marketing support. These programs help address these needs and are critically important to the rebuild of Alberta's tourism industry and visitor economy." 
Linda Southern-Heathcott, chair, Travel Alberta Board of Directors

"Tourism will play a vital role in restarting Alberta's economy and we are pleased to see these federal and provincial funding programs tailored to address local industry needs. These investments will go a long way toward helping regional destination organizations and small- and medium-sized businesses in every corner of the province remain viable and support their re-opening and local marketing efforts to drive desperately-needed cash flow and get Albertans back to work."
Alida Visbach, board chair, Tourism Industry Association of Alberta

About Travel Alberta

Travel Alberta is the destination development and promotion organization of the Government of Alberta. We promote Alberta as a desirable place to travel, work, live, play, invest and learn. Working with businesses throughout the province, we capitalize on Alberta'sbreathtaking landscapes and world-class hospitality to develop memorable experiences for visitors to enjoy, in all regions, in all seasons. Our work directly and indirectly benefits our province, driving visitation and revenue, diversifying the economy, providing jobs, encouraging economic investment and enhancing quality of life for Albertans and their communities.

Established as a Crown corporation on April 1, 2009, we operate under the authority of the Travel Alberta Act within the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism.

To learn more about Travel Alberta's strategy and programs visit
Travel Alberta on LinkedIn

June 19, 2020
Vrancor Group Announces Reopening of Holiday Inn Express® Sarnia - Point Edward

POINT EDWARD The modern, new Holiday Inn Express Sarnia – Point Edward is excited to welcome guests back to the hotel, effective today, after temporarily closing operations on March 23rd, 2020.

In early March, over the course of a few short weeks, travel throughout the world reduced to a near halt due to the health crisis.  As owner of twenty-one hotels across Ontario including three popular hotels in Sarnia – Point Edward (Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn by Hilton and Best Western Plus Guildwood Inn), Vrancor Group adjusted operations accordingly, which meant a reduction in hours, temporary leave for some team members or outright temporary closure to some facilities including Holiday Inn Express Sarnia – Point Edward, which first opened it’s doors in September 2019.   Hampton Inn and Best Western Plus Guildwood Inn have, and continue to remain, fully operational.

“What’s happening inside our hotels is changing” said Doug Loucks, General Manager.  “In addition to physical distancing practices that are carefully laid out in public areas and elevators, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has expanded their long-standing commitment to rigorous cleaning procedures by enhancing IHG Way of Clean with additional COVID-19 protocols and best practices to strengthen the hotels’ commitment to the care of all who visit.  Heightened abilities are underpinned by the new IHG® Clean Promise, ensuring that guests enjoy a confident, clean stay. 

New science-led protocols and services, partnering with industry-leading experts Cleveland Clinic, Ecolab and Diversey, assures guests that “good isn’t good enough – we’re committed to high levels of cleanliness.  That means clean, well maintained, clutter free rooms that meet redefined standards.”

IHG’s Way of Clean program has always included deep cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants.  With guidelines from WHO, CDC, Province of Ontario and local Public Health Agencies, enhanced procedures have been developed to include additional deep-cleaning, physical distancing protocols and changes to how food services are delivered, all with heightened guest-safety in mind.  Extra attention is given to high touch areas including light switches, door handles, TV remote controls, elevator buttons, and faucets.   Moving forward, guests can expect to see evolved procedures in every area of the hotel including reduced contact at check-in with the use of plexiglass partitions for additional protection, sanitizer stations located throughout the hotel and visible verification of sanitized items in all guestrooms.  Complimentary Grab and Go Breakfast is available daily and includes a variety of popular, fresh items.

“The health and wellbeing of guests remains our top priority”, said Loucks. “Holiday Inn Express has a long-standing tradition of setting new benchmarks for excellence in our industry and as more guests prepare to resume travel, we’ll be ready to welcome them with new standards that support this unprecedented moment in our history.” The hotel employs 35 associates including management and hourly team members. 


Holiday Inn Express® hotels are modern hotels for value-oriented travelers. Fresh, clean and uncomplicated, Holiday Inn Express hotels offer competitive rates for both business and leisure travelers. Guests Stay Smart® at Holiday Inn Express hotels where they enjoy a free hot Express Start®Breakfast with new healthier offerings, free high-speed Internet access and free local phone calls (U.S. and Canada only). There are currently almost 2,800 Holiday Inn Express hotel locations around the globe. For more information about Holiday Inn Express hotels or to book reservations, visit


Vrancor Group is one of the top hospitality companies in Ontario and an award-winning leader in property management and development. Committed to smart growth, we effectively adapt to changing market demands in order to deliver market leading ROI. Vrancor’s experienced and diverse corporate team offers expertise in multiple disciplines including operations, finance, sales, marketing and human resources. We specialize in building, (re)developing and managing award-winning properties in Ontario. When it comes to hotel, residential or commercial spaces – we know our game, and are one of its leading players. We pride ourselves in creating a sense of uniqueness and individuality for each of our properties, something which has earned us a reputation for innovative leadership, sound judgment and extraordinary guest satisfaction. Visit for more information.

June 17, 2020
Sénik – The Event Agency invests in the acquisition of Champagne Events

Montreal - Filled with confidence in the future of the event industry, Sénik the Event agency decided to invest by acquiring Champagne Events. With this promising new partnership, Sénik's objective is to produce more international activities, increase and diversify its client portfolio and strengthen its position as a leader in the industry, as well as to take advantage of the 30 years of experience of Lucie Champagne, president and founder of Champagne Events.

Sébastien David, Nicholas-Olivier Caron and Sylvain Grégoire, the owners of Sénik, are excited by this acquisition that was made despite the ravages of the pandemic on their industry. "In events, it’s our job to manage the unexpected, but let's say that COVID-19 is one that we had not seen coming," says Sébastien David. It may seem surprising to be making acquisitions right now, but we believe more than ever in the relevance of our services and our industry. We are excited to work with Lucie on a daily basis. Her dynamism and overflowing creativity are assets that will solidify our positioning, strengthen our offer and solidify our operations."

Lucie Champagne is delighted to integrate a team of event professionals and concentrate her energy and experience towards her passion: her customers and their innovative projects. “This allows me to focus more on developing stronger relationships and creating even bolder events. I wanted to join a team where I could make a difference and a company whose values and professionalism aligned with me. Sénik was the obvious choice."

Since 2011, Champagne Events has staged over 300 events in Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe, leaded by Lucie Champagne. She has 30 years of experience in incentive tourism and event management and 2,800 achievements.

The Champagne Events banner will continue to evolve in the Senik family. "Champagne Events customers will receive an even more exclusive service and will benefit from the support of a larger team," explains Sylvain Grégoire.

Sénik also takes the opportunity to redefine its image: "We wanted refresh our image to clearly represent our personality: passionate, authentic, warm and creative event professionals. "Says Nicholas-Olivier Caron.

Since its inception in 2003, SÉNIK has stood out for its audacity, creativity and strategic advice. The Event agency, that has won several industry awards, produces around 100 projects a year. It specializes in corporate, institutional and cultural events. The company has two offices: Montreal and Quebec City. To learn more, visit WWW.SENIK.CA

June 12, 2020
Bermuda Announces Plan to Reopen to Air Travellers Starting July 1

Hamilton, Bermuda – The Bermuda government has announced the island will resume international commercial air service for visitors starting July 1, as part of its fourth phase of economic reopening after successful management of COVID-19 to date.

“There are many in our community and around the world eagerly awaiting confirmation of when the L.F. Wade International Airport will reopen to regularly scheduled commercial flights. I can now confirm that the decision has been made to resume commercial flights on July 1, 2020,” said Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism & Transport Zane DeSilva at a press conference yesterday, delivering the first details of Bermuda’s plan to safely welcome back international air visitors. “As we work to finalise the protocols and requirements for travel to Bermuda, rest assured, we will always place the safety of our island and its people above all else.”

Bermuda’s reopening plan features five stages of visitors travelling to and from Bermuda including: 1) pre-departure; 2) in-flight; 3) upon arrival; 4) on-island and 5) returning home. In the coming days, Government officials are working to finalise a policy that will enable travellers who test negative 72 hours in advance and who also test negative upon arrival in Bermuda to have freedom of movement to enjoy the island’s experiences, adhering to local health guidelines in place at the time of visit.  

“Bermuda looks forward to welcoming visitors back to our island starting July 1. Just 21 square miles with a population of 64,000, Bermuda has always been a precious resource, set apart by its geographic location and vibrant way of life. Now more than ever, we believe travellers will value our genuine hospitality, pristine beaches and open spaces – all accessible by a two-hour, non-stop flight from several East Coast North American gateways,” said Glenn Jones, Interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. “The Bermuda government’s plan is rigorous: protecting the health of our community, while allowing visitors to experience our island safely and responsibly when they are ready to travel.”

The re-opening reflects Bermuda’s success in managing the impact of the pandemic, with a high volume of testing and contact tracing following lockdown and shelter-at-home measures. The island has:

  • The world’s 12th-highest rate of testing per capita
  • 11 consecutive days of no new cases of COVID-19 as of June 11
  • Five currently active cases, none of which are critical 

These outcomes have given Bermuda the confidence to welcome airlines and visitors back, through developing a robust screening protocol. With reopening, Bermuda offers guests an accessible, safer destination with an emphasis on wellness and responsible precautions, along with the island’s well-known beauty, flavours and natural attractions.

With the resumption of cruise traffic unknown at this time, the Bermuda Tourism Authority encourages visitors yearning for Bermuda to work with their trusted travel professional for hotel and air packages or book direct with island hotels. 

More information on Bermuda’s reopening plan and timeline can be found at

About the Bermuda Tourism Authority
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is an independent, non-government, entity and the official destination marketing organization for the island country. The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) promotes Bermuda globally as a world-class destination for leisure and group travel and tourism investment. For more information visit:

June 12, 2020
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Prepares for Phase 1 Reopening June 15

NASSAU, Bahamas– The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has announced the destination will begin Phase 1 of the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan on Monday, June 15, which welcomes international boaters, yachters and private aviation back to Bahamian shores, across all The Islands Of The Bahamas.

During Phase 1, hotels will also reopen for staff to return to work and put in place all the measures required to ensure they are ready to welcome guests at the onset of Phase 2. Commercial airlines will also be allowed to bring in Bahamian citizens, legal residents, homeowners qualifying for economic permanent residency, or the immediate family members or significant others of any of these groups. It is anticipated that during this period of time there will be a reduced flight schedule as airlines begin adding The Bahamas to their schedules once again.

This is the first part of the strategic, phased reopening approach for the tourism sector that ensures critical health and safety protocols are being adhered to, and that the Health sector remains well equipped and ready to respond as necessary. The plan was constructed by The Bahamas Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee, a group comprised of public and private sector partners. Allowing Phase 1 access to these smaller, special interest groups will allow a more controlled segment to test the country’s new measures. The second phase will commence on July 1 with the resumption of international commercial travel.

Guidelines, Policies and Procedures for International boaters, yachters and private aviation visiting The Bahamas between June 15 – June 30 are, as follows:

  • A COVID-19 RT-PCR Negative (Swab) Test is required and must be presented upon arrival. Results must be no more than ten (10) days old.

    o Childrenundertheageoftwoarenotrequiredtotakeatest.

    o Privatepilotswhodonotdeplanearenotrequiredtotakeatest.

  • All travellers – both domestic and international – are required to complete an Electronic

    Health Declaration Form at prior to departure and for any inter-island travel within The Bahamas. An automated response will be provided upon completion, and it is essential that travellers present proof of confirmation upon arrival in their destination This is an important step for contact tracing purposes.

  • No quarantine will be required upon arrival (if all steps are met).

  • Failure to comply with the test requirements and heath form submission will result in

    denied entry.

  • Boaters must inform marina at least 48 hours prior to vessel’s arrival.

    This June 15 tourism re-entry builds on and supports existing government rules and regulations, which already allow for inter-island domestic travel for Bahamian citizens and residents.

    Per the direction of the Bahamas Ministry of Health, Bahamian Citizens, Residents and Homeowners Returning from CARICOM countries are not required to present a COVID-19 RT- PCR Negative (Swab) Test upon arrival. However, they remain subject to other public health measures.

Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials. Reopening dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, if there is a deterioration in improvement, or if government and health organizations deem these phases unsafe for residents or visitors.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation believes it is an absolute baseline requirement for consumers to have a comfort level that The Bahamas is a safe and healthy destination to visit, and the ultimate goal is for that to remain the case. For more information, or to view the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, please visit:

All COVID-19 inquiries should be directed to the Ministry of Health. For questions or concerns, please call the COVID-19 hotline: 242-376-9350 (8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EDT) / 242-376-9387 (8 p.m. – 8 a.m. EDT).

June 11, 2020
Transat announces the resumption of its operations as of July 23, 2020, and unveils its Traveller Care health and safety program

Transat A.T. Inc. is pleased to announce the resumption of its flights and tour operator activities as of July 23, 2020. It will offer a new flight schedule to 22 destinations in Europe, the South, the United States and Canada until the end of the summer season on October 31, 2020. The company will also offer South and Europe packages during this period and will gradually reopen travel agencies in its network starting June 15, 2020. In addition, Transat unveils its Traveller Care program, rolling out new health measures to ensure the safety of its customers and employees.

MONTREAL, June 11, 2020 "After these long months that put the entire tourism industry to the test, we are very happy to announce today the resumption of our operations," says Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer of Transat. "We will gradually operate a flight schedule with 23 international routes to Europe, the South and the United States, in addition to a domestic flight schedule between major Canadian cities. 

"To address the concerns caused by COVID-19 and to prioritize the safety of our customers and employees, we will be implementing new health measures as part of our Traveller Care program," adds Guérard. "In compliance with the recommendations and requirements of regulatory authorities, these measures will accompany our travellers throughout their travel experience, from the travel agency to the airport to on board to the destination. We look forward to welcoming travellers again and to share the passion that unites us."

Flights for summer 2020

Transat expects to resume its flights and tour operator activities as of July 23, provided that the travel restrictions applicable on that date allow it.

From Montreal, Air Transat will gradually operate direct flights to Athens (Greece), Bordeaux (France), Lisbon (Portugal), Lyon (France), Nantes (France), Marseille (France), Paris (France) and Toulouse(France). Travellers from Toronto will benefit from direct flights to Athens (Greece), Glasgow (Scotland), London (England), Manchester(England), Porto (Portugal) and Rome (Italy).

For travellers who wish to fly south, Air Transat will offer direct flights to Cayo Coco (Cuba), Cancun (Mexico), Fort Lauderdale (Florida) and Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) from both Montreal and Toronto, in addition to one direct flight a week to Port-au-Prince (Haiti) from Montreal.

To open the door to even more destinations via connecting flights and to allow Canadians to explore more of their country, the airline will also offer domestic flights between Montreal, Toronto, Calgaryand Vancouver.

Depending on demand and the easing of regulatory restrictions, Air Transat may enhance its flight schedule for the months of September and October. Customers are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the governmental guidelines and entry requirements of their destinations, as they vary from country to country.

Flexibility offered to customers

Fully aware that travel plans can change, Transat is implementing a policy offering more flexibility to travellers whose flights are scheduled to operate this summer. Customers who booked before March 4, 2020, can change their travel dates, destination or package at no charge up to seven days before departure. If they prefer to cancel their trips instead, they will be able to obtain a travel credit valid for 24 months.

Customers who booked on or after March 4—the date Transat launched its "Book with peace of mind" policy—can make the same changes at no charge up to 24 hours before departure. If they prefer to cancel their trips instead, they will be able to obtain a travel credit valid for 12 months.

Passengers whose fare types allow for modification or cancellation will be able to benefit from those conditions if they wish to change or cancel a flight that is scheduled to operate this summer. 

Temporary suspension of certain routes

COVID-19 and its impact on the tourism industry are forcing Transat to extend the suspension of some of its flights, significantly reduce its capacity and completely cancel certain routes for the 2020 summer season. 

Until the end of the summer season, the airline is suspending its flights to certain destinations in Europe (Amsterdam, Basel-Mulhouse, Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Faro, Lamezia, Madrid, Malaga, Nice, Prague, Venice and Zagreb), the South (Cayo Largo, Holguin, Montego Bay, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta, Roatan, Santa Clara, Samana and Varadero) and the United States (New Orleans, Orlando and San Diego). It is also suspending all its direct flights to Europe and the South from Vancouver and Quebec City. Customers affected by these cancellations will receive a travel credit for the value of the amount received on file, which they can use within 24 months of their original return dates.

New health and safety program: Traveller Care 

Transat also unveils today its Traveller Care health and safety program. Based on the recommendations of regulatory authorities, the travel experience has been completely revised: at the travel agency, at the airport, on board and even at destination.

  • At travel agencies: Clients will be encouraged to make an appointment before presenting themselves at a branch; there will be a limit of one client per consultation; and Plexiglas partitions will be installed at travel agents' desks.
  • At the airport: To limit the risk of spreading the virus, certain measures will be implemented at the airport. Among these, passengers will be asked health-related questions, and counters and self-service kiosks will be regularly disinfected.
  • On board: All necessary precautions will be taken to provide a safe inflight experience. Frequently touched cabin surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectant before each flight, and the aircraft will be thoroughly cleaned with electrostatic disinfectant every 24 hours. Passengers will receive a complimentary Traveller Care kit (including a face covering, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes). Passengers and crew will be required to wear face coverings throughout the flight. And the inflight service will be revised to reduce handling and contact. In addition, on board all Air Transat aircraft, passengers can count on reliable HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which eliminate 99.995% of small particles, such as bacteria and viruses, refreshing cabin air every three minutes. 
  • At destination: Reinforced preventive measures during transfers and excursions will be put in place for customers who have purchased a South or Europe package. In addition, Transat's hotel partners will be implementing rigorous health and safety protocols so that travellers can enjoy their vacations with complete peace of mind. To provide support at destination, Transat representatives will be available at all times, by phone or via the Air Transat app.

For details on the measures featured in Transat's Traveller Care program, travellers can consult The flight schedule for the 2020 summer season and other flight details can be found at

About Transat
Transat A.T. Inc. is a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel. It offers vacation packages, hotel stays and air travel under the Transat and Air Transat brands to some 60 destinations in more than 25 countries in the Americas and Europe. Transat is firmly committed to sustainable tourism development, as reflected in its multiple corporate responsibility initiatives over the past 12 years, and was awarded Travelife certification in 2018. Based in Montreal, the company has 5,000 employees (TSX: TRZ).

June 10, 2020
Québec City Business Destination organizes a virtual educational tour for event planners

Quebec - Québec City Business Destination recently held an innovative, first-ever virtual educational tour for event planners from June 8 to 10, 2020. The goal of the tour was to keep Québec City as a top-of-mind host city for future international conventions and conferences.

While major public gatherings are still temporarily prohibited, Québec City Business Destination decided to create a virtual educational tour, along with its partners, that presented the city in all of its colours. Educational, playful and highly enticing, this initiative was a huge hit with virtual attendees. Over 80 event planners from across Canada and the United States registered to participate in the virtual tour—a first for the Canadian event industry.

The tour featured webinars, presentations, virtual tours of the city, hotels and venues, wellness activities, recommendations from DMCs and meeting and incentive companies, live cocktail hours, and so much more. Québec City virtually showcased everything it had to offer for event planners; it was the perfect time to speak with event organizers until they can physically visit the city again.

"Québec City is like no other destination to hold conferences and conventions. I am very proud of the Québec City Business Destination team, which has been working hard over the past few weeks. I am confident that professional event planners, when the opportunity arises, will quite naturally think of Québec City for their upcoming projects," Mr. Pierre-Michel Bouchard, President of Québec City Business Destination, explained enthusiastically.

View the three-day program of the virtual educational tour here.

About Québec City Business Destination

Québec City Business Destination was created in fall 2013 as the official information bureau for meeting and convention planners from outside Québec. A partnership between Québec City Tourism and the Québec City Convention Centre, its mission is to promote Québec City outside the province of Québec as a destination for conventions, meetings, and other events.

June 10, 2020
Palais des congrès de Montréal banking on hybrid solutions to fast-track reopening of operations

Montréal – The Palais des congrès de Montréal, jointly with partners Encore and GES, and together with startups from its CITÉ Events Lab, is preparing to reopen by hosting hybrid events. In response to the safety concerns and social distancing requirements shaking up the convention industry, the Palais is retooling how it holds events by enhancing them with affordable digital components that will help offset the restrictions expected to affect speakers, exhibitors and visitors.

Integrated hybrid solutions

Hybrid events are both live and virtual. They are physical events that also incorporate virtual online components. Everything runs simultaneously in real time. The same content is shared, and interactive elements are included. They give audiences the option of participating live in-person, or online via the internet.

Ideal for events where lower turnouts are expected, these solutions replicate virtual event rooms where presenters and speakers can count on receiving support from crews of technicians and producers providing instant guidance and direction remotely at all times. Hybrid events also make it possible for participants attending in person to interact with their counterparts in remote locations in real time.

In addition, the Palais is set up to operate a studio area if needed, for recording audiovisual content for podcasts, interviews, etc. All told, it is a complete package designed to produce quality content and ensure it is delivered professionally to participants attending remotely.

Solutions for consumer and trade shows

The Palais expects to host physical consumer and trade shows the moment it is authorized to. New options are revamping how exhibitions will be organized, primarily through the integration of a virtual show platform enabling exhibitors to showcase their products and services remotely. Real-time interaction and monetization opportunities will also be possible thanks to Livescale, a CITÉ startup.

Consulting services

Because the Palais is able to tap into the expertise of its partners and a well-established business network, it can play a significant advisory role. It can shepherd clients through a range of event formats, including exclusive, full-service technological solutions developed by its partners Encore (formerly Freeman Audio Visual Canada), and GES. The Palais is also open to working with ideas proposed by event planning firms having developed their own hybrid event solutions, provided these meet new health and social distancing requirements.

Visit the Palais website for more information on the integrated hybrid solutions.

Toward a new normal

Clients looking to add virtual components to their events can now choose from an array of affordable packages. Digital trends already gaining traction in recent years have now leaped to the forefront because of the current crisis, to become the new norm for the convention industry. Although initially intended to render events COVID-ready, these hybrid solutions will make it possible moving forward to broaden the reach of events, period. Thanks to its innovative partners, the Palais is in an excellent position to perform well and thus remain on track to build the convention centre of the future.

New health protocols on the horizon 

In addition to adapting the offering, the Palais and its teams are working tirelessly on developing the health protocols and standards of tomorrow. Together with other members of the convention and tourism community, both locally and internationally, and in tandem with the government, the Palais is rigorously developing new practices focused on ensuring the health and safety of employees and visitors.

Meeting in person will make a comeback 

Although adding these new virtual options might appear to suggest physical meetings will no longer be required, the Palais remains optimistic. In the short term, a drop in attendance is to be expected for some events already scheduled. Nevertheless, history has demonstrated that the need to assemble in person has triumphed over numerous crises. These digital solutions are meant to complement the services the  Palais offers. The Palais will continue to host major events, which are sources of economic benefits and intellectual wealth for Montréal and Québec.

“Despite the undeniable impact COVID-19 has had on the Palais’ operations, the current situation is serving as a springboard for going forward with new digital opportunities that will enable us to further make our mark globally. The convention industry is simply evolving, and the Palais and its new hybrid event solutions are at the forefront of this transformation.”

– Robert Mercure, CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal


About the Palais des congrès de Montréal 

The Palais des congrès de Montréal convention centre stands in the heart of the top host city in the Americas for international events. It is the recipient of the highest quality standards certification in the industry, awarded by the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC), and also a finalist for the prestigious Apex award honouring the “world’s best customer satisfaction ratings.” In 2018-2019, the Palais generated $215 million in economic benefits along with an invaluable amount of intellectual wealth via the 353 events it hosted. A trailblazer, it operates its own events lab, CITÉ, which houses Montréal startups that are helping redefine how conferences are held. The Palais is a carbon neutral building, and also BOMA BEST certified. Its suite of sustainability initiatives, which it runs under the name Palais Boréal, includes an innovative program that shepherds event organizers and participants through the process of offsetting their GHG emissions locally. Actively immersed in the community, the Palais opens its spaces to visitors and stages art-driven experiences for the public, like the Palais Seasons, showcasing Québec creatives. A leader and visionary, the Palais is at the forefront of the Convention Industry 4.0 transformation. Visit


June 10, 2020
Calgary Stampede Unveils Design For BMO Convention Centre Expansion

(CALGARY, AB) • The Calgary Stampede and development partner Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) are thrilled to unveil the design for the expansion of the BMO Convention Centre – Calgary’s premier meetings and convention venue since 1982. This visually stunning expansion, valued at $500 million, will significantly grow and modernize the facility and enable Calgary to host major conventions on a global scale.

Last year, the Calgary Stampede and CMLC carried out a rigorous competitive process to select the internationally recognized design team now leading this transformation—Stantec, Populous and S2 Architecture. These firms, valued for their complementary experience and proven collaborative approach on major projects, have spent the past 12 months crafting a world-class design for a revamped BMO Centre that’ll enable Calgary to compete with major convention destinations the world over.

Dana Peers, President & Chairman of the Calgary Stampede Board, shares his excitement about this milestone project. “Calgary’s citizens are world-renowned for their community spirit and their drive to achieve great things,” says Peers. “When complete in 2024, the expanded BMO Centre will provide Calgary and southern Alberta a significant platform for economic diversification through growth in both the convention and tourism industries.”

Calgary Stampede CEO, Warren Connell, adds “This project would not be possible without the support of our three orders of government, and we thank them for the opportunity to undertake this important project to support economic diversification and job creation for our region.” The BMO Centre will be the largest conference facility in western Canada (and the country’s second largest after Toronto’s) and will launch Calgary as a bona fide competitor in the international meetings and conventions industry.

“The Government of Canada is making historic investments in infrastructure projects that create jobs in the short term and support significant growth for the local economy. The BMO Centre’s expansion will help drive tourism activity in Calgary and generate more foot traffic for local businesses in and around Stampede Park,”  says the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “I am pleased to be a partner in this important project and look forward to continue working together to build a better, more prosperous, and more resilient Alberta and Canada.”

The raw numbers are impressive—over 1 million square feet of total floor space, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, and more than double its current rentable area—but more important, the new facility will espouse, inside and out, today’s best practices in premier conference facility design. The interior spaces will be ample and adaptable; meeting rooms will be wired for instant connectivity; flexible breakout areas will facilitate those all-important human connections; and outdoor spaces will invite attendees to experience the natural surroundings, diverse amenities and western hospitality Calgary is rightfully famous for.

As we prepare Calgary for the future, solidifying our role as the ultimate host city will be a major driver of jobs and economic activity. The expanded BMO Centre is going to be a major draw for tourism and travel, says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “From design to function, I’m confident this building will capture the attention of event organizers from around the world, creating opportunities for our local economy for decades to come.” 

The BMO Centre expansion is significant also for being a keystone project set to catalyze the transformation of east Victoria Park into Calgary’s Culture & Entertainment District.

 “This project defines an incredibly important phase in realizing the Calgary Stampede’s and CMLC’s long-term vision for east Victoria Park and Stampede Park,” says Kate Thompson, CMLC president and CEO. “The mission shared by the whole BMO project team—Together we will design a world-class facility that celebrates Calgary, captures the Stampede Spirit, connects the city with the Rivers District and activates the site all year long—speaks to this commitment.”

“An expanded BMO Centre will bring new energy, talent and revenue into our city while adding another world-class attraction to the area,” says Thompson. “This design reveal is confirmation that our vision for the city’s Culture & Entertainment District is truly coming to fruition—and I couldn’t be prouder of what the team has accomplished so far.”

This announcement comes at a time when, in a typical year, Calgary would be preparing to host the world at the annual 10-day community celebration. Although the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the Calgary Stampede, all project partners remain fully committed to the project and enthusiastic about the opportunities it heralds for the city.

“This exciting project will not only enhance the world-class infrastructure in Calgary but will create jobs in this city when they are needed most. Once complete, this upgrade will continue to positively impact the Calgary economy, as conventions and events from around the world take advantage of the BMO Centre, creating jobs and supporting the hospitality sector,” says Jason Kenny, Premier of Alberta. 

The expanded BMO Centre will sustain thousands of jobs—both during construction and after it’s complete—attract private investment and development, and significantly boost both business and leisure tourism to Calgary and the province as a whole for years to come.

In 2019, the Calgary Stampede contributed $700M to Canada’s economy with $540M of that staying in Alberta—not including the construction activities associated with the expansion. Post-construction, the BMO Centre will add another $223M to Alberta’s economy and support 1,757 full-year jobs – 90 per cent of which will stay in Calgary.

Dana Peers adds, “The innovative design unveiled today—its inspiring architecture and enticing spaces—will draw community members and visitors alike, day after day, year after year.” This state-of-the-art, tier-one facility is designed to meet the needs of the convention and consumer show industries in 2024 and beyond. As an iconic anchor for the Rivers District, it is a catalyst that, in concert with the new Event Centre, will support commercial and residential development in the district and the surrounding communities.

The project is on schedule to meet the projected June 2024 completion date. The development permit has been submitted and construction of Hall F (100,000 SF of additional space) is on track for completion later this month. Crews will begin demolishing existing structures in the fall and break ground on the new building next year.

Warren Connell says that, “Despite the obvious challenges posed by COVID-19, we’ve continued to receive inquiries from interested conventions eager to book events when the building is complete and the heightened awareness of health and safety protocols has provided an excellent opportunity for the design team and our operations team to ensure the utmost standards in health and safety are in place when the building opens.”

Connell adds that, “Once completed, the BMO Convention Centre, will have the advantage of the many differentiators that the great city of Calgary has to offer to clients from around the world, including the Calgary Stampede, the gateway to the Rockies, and our unique western culture and community spirit.”

To view the video on the BMO Centre design, click HERE 

About the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together, we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities. 

June 10, 2020
Cancellation of IMEX America 2020

It is with great regret and disappointment that today we are announcing that we have made the difficult decision to cancel IMEX America 2020, due to take place at the Sands Expo, Las Vegas from September 15-17. 

Our industry has been impacted heavily by the global lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we know how many of you were looking forward to coming together again in Las Vegas this fall. We’re acutely aware that since lockdown began, IMEX America 2020 has come to represent a beacon of hope for the entire business events community. We assure you, no-one is more disappointed than the IMEX team that we can’t fulfil that expectation. 

However, we must also be realistic about the current reality. There are three main reasons why we’ve taken the decision to cancel IMEX America 2020. 

First and foremost is our responsibility to our exhibitors to deliver a return on the investment they make in the show. We do this through our guarantee of delivering a high quality, large-scale hosted buyer program. With corporate travel bans still in place and uncertainty over continued global travel restrictions, we’re sadly in no position to offer that guarantee. 

Second is the issue of timings. As industry professionals you know that a show of the scale of IMEX America doesn’t happen overnight. Our industry supply chain and the investments that our exhibitors make in the show start now. It’s therefore important that we make this decision at a time when we’re still able to reduce the risk and exposure for our exhibitors, partners and suppliers. 

Finally, IMEX America is a truly global show, with over a third of the 13,000+ industry professionals attending from outside North America. Global travel restrictions and uncertainties around when they might be lifted make it impossible for a large proportion of our exhibitors, buyers and key industry professionals to commit to attending. And, whilst the global events industry is proudly distinct from the travel and tourism sector, nothing has demonstrated our interlinked fortunes and dependencies more keenly than the current crisis. 

It is for these reasons that we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel IMEX America for 2020. Our team has spent the past few weeks in constant contact with our exhibitors, partners and suppliers and we’ve been overwhelmed by, and so grateful for, the support we’ve received. 

Many in the industry took part in our PlanetIMEX activities during May. We’ll continue to work on this virtual platform and the industry can expect to see innovations and plenty of fresh activity online during September and beyond. We know that nothing we do online can make up for the loss of meeting, celebrating and doing business together face to face in Las Vegas at what would have been the 10th anniversary of IMEX America. We’ll miss shaking your hands, giving our industry friends a well-earned hug and looking you in the eye with a warm smile. However, true to the spirit of IMEX and our heartfelt commitment to the industry we love, we’ll do our very best to deliver our customary high-quality content, business connections plus a dash of fun through our online experience until we can all meet again. 

The IMEX Team will also be extremely busy planning forward confidently and with passion for IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America 2021, when we look forward to welcoming back the global business events community face to face.  

We believe strongly in the resilience, flexibility and creativity of our industry. We’re optimistic that meeting face to face will play an important role in helping our economies and all the industries we serve to regenerate and recover. We’re certain that globally there’s a great deal of pent-up demand to come together for both business and for pleasure, once it is safe to do so. 

We WILL meet again and, like you, we can’t wait for that moment to come.  

With very best wishes, 

Carina and Ray 


United. Resilient. Proud.

Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group

Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group

June 09, 2020
WestJet; Safety above all

Airline reinforces hygiene measures in place for a safe travel journey 

CALGARY, AB, June 9, 2020 /CNW/ - Today, WestJet announced its travel hygiene program under the Safety above all umbrella, detailing what WestJet guests can expect when travelling to ensure their health and safety. The video series and WestJet's fulsome hygiene measures can be found here

"Safety, including hygiene and health, is above all at WestJet, which is why the already-existing mantra was selected to communicate our hygiene efforts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Billy Nolen, WestJet Vice-President, Safety, Security and Quality.  "Safety is at the forefront of every decision and initiative at WestJet and our efforts on health and hygiene are no exception. As the world continues to adapt to this new environment, we will continue to adjust our health measures to ensure the safest travel experience possible as more Canadians begin to fly once again."

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, WestJet has introduced a number of safety and hygiene best-practice initiatives based on information from domestic and global experts such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization and International Air Transport Association (IATA). These measures include introducing both seat distancing and aircraft fogging, which is a cleaning procedure that provides a complete disinfection of the aircraft interior using a hydrogen peroxide-based solution cleaner. WestJet has also implemented temperature taking before boarding across its 38 Canadian destinations.

It is a misconception that COVID-19 is spread on aircraft. With WestJet's layered approach to health, the aircraft is as safe an environment as possible. In addition to the measures detailed here, all WestJet aircraft (737, 767, 787 and Q400) are equipped with an industry-leading air circulation system containing a HEPA filter, similar to what is used in hospital environments, achieving a viral removal efficiency of greater than 99.99909 per cent. World Health Organization also recently stated the spread of COVID-19 by someone who is not showing symptoms appears to be rare.

Concluded Nolen. "As Canadians continue to flatten the curve, WestJet is committed to doing our part, while helping guests feel safe getting back in the skies."

About WestJet 

WestJet and WestJet Encore continue to connect all 38 of the airline's domestic airports, with a reduced frequency, to ensure essential travel, trade and cargo can continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit

June 05, 2020
Meetings Mean Business Canada | Rally for Recovery of the Business Events Sector
Earlier today, we shared our new Rally for Recovery newsletter with government officials across Canada with an aim at spreading greater awareness of the economic impact of the Meetings and Business Events industry and what’s needed to promote our industry as a catalyst for recovery from COVID-19.  As we note below, we encourage you to review TIAC’s recovery plan on and send a letter to your Member of Parliament in support of the plan. Please share with your networks.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the meetings industry was an essential component to Canada’s economy, employing 229,000 Canadians and contributing $19.3B to GDP. Like all sectors of the visitor economy, COVID-19 has dramatically impacted our business; however, unlike other sectors, necessary physical distancing measures and travel restrictions to prevent the spread of this disease have meant that nearly all business in the near future has cancelled or postponed. The Meetings and Business Events sector is in serious jeopardy. A well-informed and thoughtful recovery with specific government support will be essential to the long-term sustainment of the thousands of businesses in our industry.
Knowing that we are a critical part of any economic recovery, many leaders in our industry are meeting regularly to define a made in Canada solution for Meetings and Business Events.  We are being proactive in establishing protocols and processes, unlike some mass gatherings, we create business interactions in a clean and healthy environment, in world class venues and hotels that will keep convention and conference attendees safe. That is our number one goal as we embark on our road to recovery.
We call upon government to work closely with the Meetings and Business Events industry to establish protocols to reopen our business sector. Given the professional nature of the industry, we are positioned to deliver events in a safe and controlled fashion; thus, keeping our delegates safe while kick-starting the Canadian economy so that we can all recover quickly. 

Meetings Mean Business Canada operates on behalf of the Canadian meetings industry and over the last several weeks, we have focused our efforts on the path forward, however, we need your help. Today, we launch a special segment of e-blasts we’re calling “Rally for Recovery.”

We encourage you to watch the short videos below to learn more about our industry and the people that make it so impactful. We also encourage you to review the recovery plan released by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) earlier today on for a comprehensive overview of how our industry plans to advance. We will be in touch again soon with further communications. We appreciate your support and would welcome the opportunity to work further with you on planning the recovery of the Canadian Meetings and Business Events sector.
Clark Grue
Chair, Meetings Mean Business Canada

Clark Grue and Barry Smith, Executive Director of Convention Centres of Canada, discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the Events Business with Dianne Bruckner of CBC News
Key planning recommendations for Mass Gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak by the World Health Organization


Laura Pallotta, Regional Vice President, Sales + Distribution, Marriott International, Canada
Laura Pallotta Then & Now Video

The Honourable Perrin Beatty, PC, OC, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Interview with Perrin Beatty

June 05, 2020
Montréal, First Canadian City to Join the Global Destination Sustainability Index

MONTRÉAL Montréal – host of World Environment Day 2020 – becomes the first Canadian city to join the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). The destination now forms part of the global destination sustainability movement, that seeks to engage, inspire and enable urban centers to become more regenerative places to visit, meet and thrive in. The GDS-Index is delighted that Montréal has chosen such a significant day to announce its membership of the global performance improvement program. 

Initiated by Tourisme Montréal, a private, non-profit organization that plays a leading role in the management and development of Montréal's tourism offer, the initiative will: 

  • Benchmark the sustainability performance of Montréal, in tourism, meetings and events 
  • Support the development of a sustainability strategy for Tourisme Montréal, that reunites the city's key stakeholders behind a bold initiative 
  • Increase awareness of, and integrate, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into the events and visitor economy 
  • Inspire clients to prize destinations with solid event sustainability initiatives 
  • Share the responsible business initiatives and regenerative practices of Tourisme Montréal with their clients, peers, and the world

The breaking of the COVID-19 crisis has brought devastating effects on economies worldwide – not least for the tourism sector. However, even in the face of that adversity, Tourisme Montréal had already started to think forward, posing itself questions to reboot the sector, such as "How can we use tourism and events to transform our society?" and "How can tourism be pivotal to the solution?"

Tourisme Montréal's journey towards regeneration and sustainability provides an opportunity for renewed city-wide collaboration behind bold initiatives that promote the greatest assets of Montréal – innovation, creativity, as well as its position as the leading destination for business events in North America. 

Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of the GDS-Index, comments: "Montréal is already recognized as a pioneer, with tangible assets in innovation and creativity, great cooperation between Tourisme Montréal and its partners and suppliers. Tourisme Montréal has a great opportunity to create new advantage and push the city forward to become the leading sustainable destination in North America. We are delighted that they have decided to join the GDS-Index and even more that they have chosen such a momentous day to do so." 

Yves Lalumière, CEO of Tourisme Montréal, mentions: "Tourisme Montréal has always stood for innovation and forward-thinking. We strongly believe that committing to such strategy, alongside our  partners, members and suppliers, will create a positive impact on the local communities, promote the harmonious cohabitation of residents and tourists, encourage responsible tourism and develop sustainable commercial actions that are conducive to growth. Following the impact of the pandemic on the tourist industry, there is no doubt that we must build it back upon the principles of sustainable development."

The GDS-Index is a collaborative partnership between ICCA, ICCA's Scandinavian Chapter, IMEX, ECM and MCI Group. It measures, benchmarks and improves the sustainability strategy and performance of meetings, events and business tourism destinations. Founded by pioneering Scandinavian Convention Bureaus through ICCA's Scandinavian Chapter, its purpose is to engage, inspire and enable destinations to become more sustainable places to visit, meet and thrive in.

In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are a blueprint and a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

Tourisme Montréal is a private, non-profit organization that has been positioning Montréal as an international-calibre leisure and business travel destination for the past 100 years. The organization leads innovative tourist welcome strategies with a twofold objective: ensuring that visitors enjoy a quality experience and balancing economic growth with the city's long-term interests. Uniting more than 1,000 tourism professionals, Tourisme Montréal plays a leading role in the management and development of Montréal's tourism business, and makes recommendations on issues surrounding the city's economic, urban and cultural development. For more information, go to

SOURCE Tourisme Montréal

June 03, 2020
CMEExpo 2020 cancelled

TORONTO – After careful consideration and consultation with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), we, Newcom Media, have made the difficult decision to cancel the Canadian Meetings + Events Expo this coming August.

Delivering a safe and successful CMEExpo during this time is our top priority and it has become clear that doing so will not be possible as the fight against COVID-19 continues.

The MTCC will not be ready to hold events the size of CMEExpo come August, nor do we feel a large number of people would be interested in gathering at this time even if we were able to host the event in person.

“Given the impact that COVID-19 has had on our entire industry, we were hoping that the August show would be the first step towards reconnecting the industry in a personal and meaningful way,” Melissa Arnott, director of events, CMEExpo said. “Unfortunately, we will not have that opportunity in 2020. We are eager to start working on CMEExpo 2021 where we will focus on rebuilding and reconnecting the meetings and events industry in Canada.”

We hope to see you next year at CMEExpo on August 17 + 18, 2021.

June 01, 2020
ILEA Announces MCI USA as Management Partner
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) is pleased to announce that it has retained MCI USA as its full-service association management company (AMC). As the essential community for creative event professionals globally, with thousands of members whose skills, expertise, and experience power some of the most recognized and respected live events around the world, ILEA is well-matched with MCI USA, one of the premier AMCs in the United States and part of the internationally respected MCI Group. 
"During this time of great uncertainty for our industry, it's my pleasure to announce ILEA's partnership with MCI USA as a critical step in our transformation journey, building a strong future for our association," said Jennifer Trethewey, CSEP, ILEA International President. "MCI USA has assembled a robust staff team that will provide professional expertise across our operations, marketing, membership, events, and other activities. With this dynamic team, we will move ILEA forward and upward." 
Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., with offices in five additional U.S. cities, MCI USA helps associations strategically engage and activate their target audiences, building community and boosting organizational performance through targeted member outreach, transformative face-to-face and virtual experiences, and strategic visioning that supports client business objectives. MCI USA is part of MCI Group, a global leader in engaging and activating audiences, with 61 offices in 31 countries. 
"We are proud that ILEA has selected MCI USA as its strategic partner during a time of radical change for both the association and live events overall," said Erin M. Fuller, FASAE, CAE, President, Association Solutions, MCI USA. "Having first been retained to complete a strategic consulting project for ILEA last fall, MCI USA shares ILEA's vision and is perfectly positioned to help this dynamic organization reimagine and build a future within a flourishing live events industry, as it mirrors our commitment to building community via shared experiences." 

For more information please contact: 
Chris Durso
Associate Vice President, Content
+1 703.506.3260
ILEA is the essential global community for creative event professionals. The association advances the live events industry through a dedication to personal and business development and inspiring to elevate all professionals engaged in live events. Members include event planners/producers, caterers, meeting planners, decorators, audiovisual technicians, convention coordinators, entertainers, educators, journalists, photographers, hotel sales managers, and more. ILEA's events, education resources, and certification program provide members with exclusive opportunities for collaboration, thought leadership, and idea-sharing. Learn more at
May 31, 2020
Destination Canada's unprecedented partnership with Provinces and Territories gives Canadian communities the lift they need

$30 million to encourage Canadians to support local business

VANCOUVER  To mark national tourism week, Destination Canada – the country's national tourism marketing organization, announced a new partnership with the provinces and territories to deliver locally led marketing programs encouraging Canadians to discover their own back yard. 

Over the next 18 months, Destination Canada will invest $30 millionwith Provincial and Territorial Marketing Organizations to support the recovery of communities.

 "Tourism is a source of pride for communities across the country. It's a significant economic driver and a source of local jobs. It's also among the sectors hardest hit by this pandemic," said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. "We're working with the sector to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and we're working with tourism businesses as our economy reopens so tourism can come back stronger than before."

The return to travel will look different across the country – community by community including Canada's unique and culturally vibrant Indigenous and rural communities. Each province, at their own time, will assess the best distribution of funds, taking into account local and regional COVID-19 circumstances, infrastructure in place to safely host visitors, and the willingness of communities to welcome travellers back, among other factors. While timing and details may differ – all efforts will adopt a theme, which supports Destination Canada's national brand – Canada. For Glowing Hearts.

"Destination Canada's work recognizes the need to support local tourism in time for summer when most businesses make the largest portion of their annual revenue," said Ben Cowan-Dewar, Board Chair, Destination Canada. "Now more than ever, Destination Canada's collaboration with industry will support a timely restart and strengthen our ability to build demand for the fall, winter and beyond."  

This initiative, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, is an important starting point to bolster local tourism demand and support businesses across the country when the time is right. The funds are being redirected from Destination Canada's existing international marketing program budget, as international marketing efforts are currently paused as a result of COVID-19. 

In addition to provincially focused efforts - Destination Canada's established partnerships with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), as well as other national industry partnerships with airlines, cultural organizations, RDÉE Canada (Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité), and Parks Canada, complement the overall national program. When the time is right – guided by health regulations, research, and other factors – Destination Canada will gradually evolve to national and eventually international marketing programs.

Other Relevant Announcements:

  • The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) will receive $30 million in FedDev Ontario Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) funding to provide financial relief to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) across southern Ontario that have experienced significant revenue shortfalls. Learn more
  • The Government of Canada invests $7.6 million to support communities, businesses and organizations in Northern Ontario to help create jobs, spur growth and support the tourism industry. Learn more.

For Reference:

About Destination Canada:

Destination Canada is the country's national tourism marketing organization focusing on leisure and business travel. A Crown corporation of the Federal Government, our mission is to unite and empower Canada's tourism leaders through compelling research, strategy and storytelling. 

For more information, please visit:, sign up for Destination Canada News and follow @DestinationCAN and @ExploreCanada on Twitter.

May 29, 2020
Industry Leaders Call on Federal Government to Streamline Rules and Encourage Canadian Travel; Launch Canadian Tourism Roundtable

OTTAWA Leaders of the Canadian tourism and travel sectors today announced the formation of the Canadian Tourism Roundtable ("Roundtable"), a coalition of industry representatives committed to restoring the Canadian tourism and travel sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Roundtable is calling on all levels of government to work together to streamline and clarify rules around travel in order to ensure safe, accessible and timely travel for Canadians this summer.

This sector, which supports 1.8 million workers across the country, has been devastated by the pandemic and urgent action must be taken to prevent long-lasting economic and job impacts. Through the Roundtable, leaders of Canada's tourism and travel sector – airports, airlines, hotels, chambers of commerce, and others – have come together to restart the sector smoothly and safely and are committed to working together with all levels of government to restore the Canadian tourism industry to its potential. 

"The Roundtable is looking forward to working with governments across the country to take meaningful steps to ease travel and quarantine restrictions so that they are more targeted and less universal. Failing to do so risks permanently losing millions of jobs across the country that depend upon a robust tourism sector. Other jurisdictions, like the European Union and Australia, have already unveiled action plans to save the summer travel season," said Charlotte Bell, Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC).

"The aviation, hospitality, and tourism sectors were hit particularly hard by the pandemic," said Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "Although a return to pre-crisis conditions may be several years off, protecting this vital sector during the critical summer season will require a carefully calibrated and targeted response from government.  Restoring tourism is important for all regions of Canada," he added. 

For many Canadian businesses in the sector, re-opening the summer travel season is critical for their survival. Roundtable members recently wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requesting a meeting to discuss appropriate, more targeted and urgent measures to get the sector back to work and to encourage Canadians to safely explore our country this summer, so the season is not entirely lost for travelers or the industry.

Working with all levels of government, the Canadian Tourism Roundtable is confident it can develop and coordinate a comprehensive plan that is highly focused on public safety, to streamline the rules with the end-to-end traveler experience in mind, and to enable Canadians to connect with family and friends across the country once again, while simultaneously restoring some of Canada's all-important summer tourism season. 

About the Canadian Tourism Roundtable

The Canadian Tourism Roundtable is a cross-Canadian coalition of leaders in the tourism and travel sector – including representatives from airports, airlines, hotels, and chambers of commerce across the country – committed to working together to restart the sector smoothly and safely. Travel and Tourism is a $102 billion sector, employing millions of Canadians across the country and accounting for 2.1% of the country's gross domestic product. It advocates for a safe and prosperous tourism and travel sector across Canada.  

The Canadian Tourism Roundtable
Fact Sheet 

Canada's tourism and travel sector is a dynamic, sustainable and vastly diverse industry, comprised of innovative businesses in every region of the country. It employs millions of Canadians, half of whom are under 35. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of government efforts to mitigate against it, the Canadian tourism and travel sector has been hit disproportionately hard. 

Canada's Tourism and Travel Sector

The tourism and travel sector is an important economic driver and a vital element of Canada's economic fabric. 

  • Canada's travel and tourism industry is a $102 billion sector, accounting for 2.1% of the country's GDP.1
  • One out of every 11 jobs in Canada is directly involved with travelers, and the sector employs 1.8 million workers across the country, split between the travel services, accommodation, recreation and entertainment, transportation, and food and beverage industries.2
  • Prior to the pandemic, Canada welcomed more than 57,000 international overnight visitors to the country every day.3
  • Since foreign currencies are used to purchased Canadian services, tourism is Canada's largest service export, and was worth $22.1 billion in 2018.4

Below are key economic indicators that represent the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this vital Canadian industry. 

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Canada's Tourism Sector5

  • Consumer Spending: In a recent report prepared for Destination Canada on the impact of the pandemic on domestic Canadian travel, Tourism Economics found that traveler spending could fall anywhere from $54.9 billion to $34.8 billion in 2020, representing drops of 33% and 58% respectively.6
  • Employment: The number of individuals employed in tourism decreased by 433,100 in April 2020, following a decrease of 448,600 in March. Since COVID-19 related shutdowns began, tourism employment has decreased by 881,700, or 43.3%. 
    • From March to April, the biggest drop in employment occurred in the food & beverage services industry, dropping by 244,800, following a drop of 487,700 in March. In April, employment in food & beverage services decreased by 33.9% from March, followed by accommodations (-32.8%), travel services (-23.2%), recreation and entertainment (-20.1%), and transportation (-18.9%). 
    • The unemployment rate in the tourism sector skyrocketed to 28.2% in April, up from 15.8% in March and 5.7% in February. The unemployment rate is highest in the accommodations industry, followed by food and beverage services (34.3%), recreation and entertainment (28.0%), travel services (22.3%) and transportation (14.8%). 
    • The reduction in employment and increase in unemployment rates does not fully capture the slowdown occurring in tourism. This was particularly noticeable in March, when many tourism employees continued to work but with reduced hours. For example, from February to March, employment in accommodation and food services dropped 23.7%, but hours worked decreased 44.4%. 
    • While employment is dropping across all age groups, it is dropping particularly quickly for young people. Employment across all sectors for those aged 15 to 24 dropped 21.9% from March to April. This is particularly concerning as young people traditionally comprise a large part of the increased hiring that usually occurs in the tourism sector leading into the summer months. 


1 National Travel Indicators, Statistics Canada (2018 Q4)

2 Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Travel & Tourism: The Economic Importance of Travel in Canada, 2018

3 Destination Canada, Unlocking the Potential of Canada's Visitor Economy, December 2018

4 Statistics Canada, National Tourism Indicators 2018 Q2 Table 36-10-0230-01 (formerly CANSIM 387-0001)

5 All statistics below are adapted from Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey by Tourism HR Canada. The monthly LFS sample size is approximately 56,000 households, covering 100,000 individuals. 

6 Tourism Economics. COVID-19's Impact on Canadian Tourism: Domestic Travel. Prepared for Destination Canada. March 23, 2020. 

About the Canadian Tourism Roundtable

The Canadian Tourism Roundtable is a cross-Canadian coalition of leaders in the tourism and travel sector – including representatives from airports, airlines, hotels, and chambers of commerce across the country – committed to working together to restart the sector smoothly and safely. Travel and Tourism is a $102 billion sector, employing millions of Canadians across the country and accounting for 2.1% of the country's gross domestic product. It advocates for a safe and prosperous tourism and travel sector across Canada.  

Canadian Tourism Roundtable Members

Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC): TIAC serves as the national private-sector advocate for the tourism industry. Based in Ottawa, it takes action on behalf of Canadian tourism businesses and promotes positive measures that help the industry grow and prosper. TIAC's membership reflects partnerships among all sectors of the industry, and provincial, territorial and regional tourism associations, enabling the association to address the full range of issues facing Canadian tourism.

National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC): NACC is an association for all carriers facing similar regulatory and policy issues in Canada. It advocates for safe, environmentally responsible and competitive air travel by promoting the development of sound public policy and engaging with government and industry stakeholders.

Canadian Airports Council (CAC): The Canadian Airports Council, a division of Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), is the voice of Canada's airports. It works to ensure that Canada's airports have the regulatory and operational tools they need by advocating for policies that strengthen the ability of Canada's airports to serve their travelers and communities.

Hotel Association of Canada (HAC): The Hotel Association of Canada is the leading voice of the Canadian Hotel & Lodging industry, bringing legislative solutions to industry challenges.  It delivers targeted advocacy for fair rules for the sharing economy, to address Canada's hotel labour shortage, and for sustainability solutions for the hotel industry across Canada.

Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA): ACTA is the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, a national member-based trade association that represents the retail travel sector of Canada'stourism industry. Over 24,000 Travel Agents across the country work in its member agencies representing more than 80% of the travel business booked through a Travel Agency in Canada.

Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMB): Meetings Mean Business is an industry-wide coalition to showcase the undeniable value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions bring to people, businesses and communities. By rallying industry advocates, working with stakeholders, conducting original research, engaging with outside voices and more, the coalition brings the industry together to emphasize its importance. 

Canadian Chamber of Commerce: The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has connected businesses of all sizes, from all sectors and from all regions of the country to advocate for public policies that will foster a strong, competitive economic environment that benefits businesses, communities and families across Canada. With a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions, they are the largest business association in Canada, and the country's most influential. They are the primary and vital connection between business and the federal government.

Toronto Region Board of Trade (BOT): The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America. Its constant flow of ideas, people and introductions to city-builders and government officials firmly roots them as connectors for ─ and with ─ the business community. They act as catalysts for the region's growth agenda, at home and on a global scale with their World Trade Centre Toronto franchise. Backed by more than 13,500 members, they advocate on your behalf for policy change that drives the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region. 

Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM): The mission of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (formerly known as Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal) is to act as the voice of Montréal's business community and to promote the prosperity of the city and its businesses. The Chamber is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, pro-activity, collaboration, and innovation.

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade: The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Western Canada's leading business association, engaging Members to impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.'s workforce, they are the largest business association between Victoriaand Toronto. They leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique signature programs. In addition, they operate one of the largest events programs in the country.

Tourisme Montréal (MTL): Tourisme Montreal is an organization of 85 professionals who work together to position the city as a leading international-calibre destination for the leisure tourism and business travel markets. It comprises 900 members, partners and tourism industry stakeholders who aim to maximize the economic benefits of tourism in Montréal and across all of Québec.

Tourism Toronto (TCVA): Tourism Toronto is the official destination marketing organization for Toronto's tourism industry. It focuses on promoting and selling the greater Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travelers. Officially operating as a not-for-profit agency, Tourism Toronto has over 1,100 members and is a partnership of public and private sectors. 

Business Council of Canada: Founded in 1976, the Business Council of Canada is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization representing business leaders in every region and sector of the country. The Council's member companies employ 1.7 million Canadians, contribute the largest share of federal corporate taxes, and are responsible for most of Canada's exports, corporate philanthropy, and private-sector investments in research and development. 

International Air Transport Association (IATA): The International Air Transport Association is a trade association for the world's airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic. It supports many areas of aviation activity and helps formulate policy on critical aviation issues.

View letter to the Prime Minister from Canadian Tourism Roundtable (CNW Group/Canadian Tourism Roundtable)

May 28, 2020
How We Care Iberostar vacations are back: Scientifically based health, safety and circularity policies to guarantee the care for people and ecosystems
PALMA The Iberostar Group has announced the reopening of several hotels in June in various destinations, including Spain (Balearics, Canaries and Andalusia), Montenegro, Greece and Mexico, among others. The Hotel Iberostar Cristina, on the island of Majorca, will be the first to reopen early next month, in a trial phase where employees, Group executives and members of the Fluxá family themselves, will have the chance to experience the new health and safety measures before welcoming the first guests.
Iberostar Group will resume operations, aligning with science to guarantee optimum care for people and ecosystems. Through its Medical Advisory Board, which includes biologists and doctors specialized in Public Health for the tourism industry, the Majorca-based company has developed more than 300 health and safety measures in coherence with the circularity policies promoted through the Group’s Wave of Change movement, for the protection of the environment and the oceans. The hotel chain is also working closely with its partner SGS, the world leader in inspection, verification, analysis and certification services, which has endorsed the disinfection and sanitization protocols for the hotels.
As Sabina Fluxá, the Group’s CEO, explains, “the difficulty lies not in designing safety protocols, but rather in doing so from a holistic, science-based perspective without undoing the progress we’ve made in caring for the ecosystems. We are proud of the measures we have introduced, particularly because they have allowed us to maintain our commitment to being a single use plastic-free company, as far as legislation permits, reinforcing our circularity policies and use of products that minimize environmental impact.” As an example, the new procedures include the use of masks made from recycled and recyclable materials and measures that encourage frequent hand washing to minimize the use of gloves.
Furthermore, the Iberostar Group has designed a training plan for all its teams, facilitating the transition to the new scenario, and the company will carry out regular audits of all its procedures and protocols. The training plan covers four key areas: general epidemiological instruction, application of protocols, coaching in new consumption habits and ad hoc training created by the Medical Advisory Board.

The measures implemented by the Iberostar Group include four main pillars, based on innovative and responsible solutions to guarantee a top quality experience:

★ Safe environment: with true leadership standards for the protection of our employees, customers, communities and ecosystems.

○  Strict compliance and permanent update of recommendations from local authorities and WHO.
○  External certifications like Earth Check or Cristal International Standards, among others, together with the verification of protocols by SGS (the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company) reinforce the company’s commitment to healthy and safe environments.
○  Secure access with sanitary controls for suppliers and employees.
○  Permanent centralized medical service including isolation rooms and ambulance on standby.
○  Inspection of all goods and products delivered to the hotels, to meet sanitary standards but, even more so, to support local businesses and minimize waste generation. This, in turn, reinforces the unique focus of the Group's Honest Food philosophy which ensures the traceability of consumption.
○  Specialized training for employees, equipped with the new hygiene and protection measures stipulated by the Medical Advisory Board.
★  Hygiene Standards with products that minimize the environmental impact.
○  Guidance from virology experts for the adaptation of protocols, increasing the frequency and depth of disinfection in all spaces and establishing ongoing cleaning processes.
○  New cleaning measures and protocols using certified products that ensure sterilization while guaranteeing minimal impact on the water and waste management systems, in line with our circularity agenda.
○  Specific protocols for disinfecting rooms, employee access to these, and for cleaning of textiles in laundries.
○  Excellence and safety in buffets, including a single touch procedure featuring individual presentation of the gastronomic choices while using the opportunity to reduce food waste.
★  Social distancing, making the most of open and outdoor spaces.
○  The extensive natural spaces at Iberostar resorts bring nature closer and protect employees and guests. People flow signage is also now in place.
○  Hotel occupancy at maximum 70% of total capacity and enlarged distances between hammocks and furniture, among the many measures to enhance safety.
○  Reduction of tables in à la carte restaurants, and increased space in buffet restaurants, taking advantage of outdoor areas and creating new exterior dining experiences.
○  Eco-2-Go Star Café: encouraging the use of take away options using compostable or reusable packaging to reinforce our circularity policies.
○  Room service to enjoy the best of Iberostar gastronomy in a more intimate setting.
○  Entertainment experiences with workshops, activities and live outdoor music shows (or indoors with limited capacity), and family activities in smaller groups with advance booking.

★ Innovative experience at the service of information and communication to facilitate contactless proximity.

○  Digital pre-check in and online check out: safer and more recommendable while, at the same time, quicker and more convenient.
○  Reinforcement of the paperless philosophy: the use of paper decreases by extending digital media in restaurants and rooms.
○  Touch-less experience using the Iberostar App or 24 hour E-concierge: access to all services with one click to book a table, review a menu or search for leisure activities, among others.
○  Doctor Superhero will teach children how to play together and interact in the new scenario.
All these new protocols and measures have enabled the Iberostar Group to consolidate its business vision and further improve its leadership in responsible tourism. “The UN has launched a call to consider this recovery as an opportunity to ‘build back better.’ As a company, we accept this challenge. Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for responsible tourism that cares for people and the environment, and commits to creating healthy settings,” says the Group’s CEO, Sabina Fluxá.
Visit the How We Care website for further details of these measures.

About the Iberostar Group
Iberostar Group is a 100% family-owned Spanish multinational company with more than 60 years of history. Hospitality is the company’s core business, with a portfolio of more than 120 four- and five-star hotels located in 19 countries worldwide and a workforce of more than 34,000 employees. Iberostar consolidates its quality through innovation and renovation of its product, introducing new concepts that promote an authentic culture of wellbeing and propose a healthy gastronomy, boosting the use of local products.
Iberostar Group leads with purpose in its pursuit to set the standard for responsible tourism. Its commitment to preserving the environment and protecting the oceans surrounding its properties is consolidated through Wave of Change, Iberostar’s pioneering initiative to move beyond plastics and towards a circular economy, the promotion of responsible consumption of seafood, and care for coastal health.
May 28, 2020
Global DMC Partners Releases Latest Meetings & Events Survey Results

Findings reveal the dramatic impact of COVID-19, that incentive programs and face-to-face events are not fully replaceable, and that fear remains the greatest barrier to overcome

Washington, D.C. Global DMC Partners (GDP), the leading global network of independently owned destination management companies (DMCs) and creative event experts, today announced the results of its most recent Meetings & Events Pulse Survey, focusing on the widespread impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic to the MICE industry. Conducted April 27 through May 4, 2020, the survey polled 374 respondents from the meetings and events industry. Of these, 93 percent were planners versus vendors or suppliers. While the survey touched nearly every part of the globe, the majority of respondents were based in the United States (64 percent), followed by Europe, the United Kingdom (10 percent respectively) and Canada (seven percent). Participants included third-party planners (30 percent), independent meeting planners (16 percent), associations (13 percent) as well as planners in technology, finance, pharmaceuticals, insurance and law.
Key highlights of the findings included:
    •    Ninety-seven percent reported that their 2020 meetings and events were impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
    •    Fifty-six percent predict that they will operate 25 percent or less of their 2020 live events.
    •    While many live events are pivoting to virtual this year, virtual is not considered to be a long-term replacement for face-to-face programs. Live events and hybrid solutions continue to be in high demand.

2020 Budgets and Events
Compared to GDP’s previous Q1 2020 survey, twenty percent more planners are reporting a decrease in their meeting budgets for the remainder of this year, and seventeen percent are reporting a cutback in their incentive budgets. These decreases are most apparent amongst planners outside of the United States.
Fifty-six percent predict that they will operate 25% or less of their 2020 live events. Sixty-nine percent plan to go virtual or incorporate virtual aspects.
Only 13 percent stated that all 2020 programs have been canceled. Eighty-eight percent predict that some portion of their 2020 events will be or are already postponed to 2021. Thirty-seven percent said that at least half or more of their programs have been postponed to 2021.
When Will Events Return?
While the majority of survey participants were unsure about their budgets for 2021, sixty-four percent predict that they will host live events sometime between August 2020 and January 2021.
From the incentives side, most programs (52 percent) are still moving forward in 2021. For those not proceeding, only five percent are being replaced by gifts, four percent by cash, three percent by a virtual incentive event and two percent with the option of a personal trip.
“Incentive trips are irreplaceable because they uniquely increase the sense of loyalty to a company,” said Global DMC Partners President & CEO Catherine Chaulet. “We hear from so many of our clients that continued education combined with a memorable travel experience is a key motivational tool to help retain top talent.  This crisis if anything proves the importance of employee and key partners’ recognition. Corporations already see how critical incentives will be to build employee morale back after such tough times.”
What Face-to-Face Meetings Will Look Like in the Future
For a glimpse into the future, Global DMC Partners asked respondents what new initiatives they will add to live programs. Not surprisingly, the vast majority (90 percent) said that they will be adding hand sanitizer stations, placing restrictions to maintain physical distancing between participants (79 percent), reducing attendee counts (61 percent) and eliminating buffets to serve plated or boxed meals (66 percent).
Other new practices include only contracting hotels, venues and event vendors with verifiable sanitation processes (60 percent), requiring face masks for attendees (40 percent), providing temperature checks (34 percent) and providing medical and EMT personnel on staff (28 percent).
More than 51 percent said that they will offer a virtual option in addition to live events.
Twenty-three percent said they will have programs closer to home, eliminating international travel in the short term. Eleven percent responded that they are considering ground transportation changes, and five percent are considering private chartered flights. Finally, respondents were polled for the top challenge that they expect to face once the COVID-19 crisis dissipates. Travel restrictions are predicted to be the top challenge for planners based outside of the U.S., while general fear is the primary concern for U.S. planners.
“With COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations becoming more of a reality, the implementation of health and sanitation protocols worldwide, and seeing many government travel restrictions lifted, I am confident of a strong rebound of face-to-face meetings and events,” said Chaulet. “2021 is already looking strong worldwide with high demand for meetings and events taking place in Q2. Full back to normal is expected to start late 2021 once the entire travel supply chain, from airlines to hotels and all hospitality related services, are back in place.”
For the full results of GDP’s Meetings & Events Pulse Survey, please visit

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About Global DMC Partners:
Global DMC Partners is the largest global network of independent destination management companies (DMCs) and sales advisors offering meeting professionals one worldwide solution for total event success. The network has exclusive partnerships with more than 65 DMCs that represent over 500 destinations around the globe. Each DMC provides an unparalleled level of creativity and commitment to clients by promising to deliver one-of-a-kind programs under a singular standard of excellence. Thanks to a global team with decades of experience and a passion for the industry, clients can centralize everything from DMC communication to DMC spend through one dedicated Global DMC Sales Advisor. For more information, including a complete listing of destinations in the Global DMC Partners network, please visit us online at

May 27, 2020
IACC Celebrates Success of First Ever Americas Virtual Connect

The 39th edition of the IACC Americas Connect conference took place in virtual form last week (18 – 21 May), with 660 delegates (up 187% from last year’s event) attending over the four days making it the largest gathering in the association’s 40-year history.

The IACC team, which originally rescheduled the conference to take place at Delta Hotels | Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek in Texas, decided rather than postponing, it would move the event to an online format and remove all registration costs for members, to make the event accessible to all enabling members and partners to access key education, networking and knowledge sharing with their peers throughout the uncertain time.

Mark Cooper, CEO, IACC commented “This is the year when IACC needs to step up and support every one of our 400 member venues and making registration free was the right decision. By doing this we opened the event up to many more of our members who would not usually be able to attend. Our incredible management, company sponsors and commercial partners made this happen with their unwavering support of Americas Virtual Connect.” 

The IACC Americas Virtual Connect education programme included more than 15 hours of CE creditworthy learning, with sessions focused on how to embrace the ‘new normal’ and develop creative, powerful services and experiences for returning meetings. Results show attendees stayed engaged for an average of 2.6 hours each day with 30% achieving high or medium levels through polls, Q&A and Emoji sharing.  

Cindy Novotny, Managing Partner, Master Connections Associates kicked off the event with her high-energy keynote ‘Chaos Creates Winners!’. Cindy focused her motivating keynote around the current global pandemic and inspired delegates to embrace the ‘new normal’ and showcase how innovation and ideas can be born from the unknown.

Other sessions focused on how to incorporate new social distancing measures into all areas of a venue and a panel session that explored the new future for meetings.

On the third day of the conference IACC hosted a ‘What’s on your Mind’ panel session, facilitated by Sean Anderson, Vice President of Sodexo. Prior to this delegates had the opportunity to submit suggestions for topics they wanted to discuss to the IACC team, which then pulled together a panel of experts for the panel. The discussion focused on six key topics including an exploration into possible standards and points of differentiation for things like continuous centralised breaks and creative beverage stations against changing operating requirements driven by COVID-19.

IACC also hosted its annual Global Innovation Awards, a fast-paced competition focused on innovations. Seven IACC members and suppliers were invited to deliver a four-minute-long elevator pitch for their innovation to a panel of global senior meetings industry press judges.

This year UCLA Housing & Hospitality won the award for its new product ‘The Plateia Cookbook’, which was centre-stage of a wider social responsibility campaign. The people’s choice award, as voted by the conference delegates, was awarded to Benchmark & Deloitte University for their joint Special Dietary Needs Management programme.

On the final day of the conference, Nancy Lindemer, IACC Americas, President hosted a Happy Hour session, which gave delegates the chance to reflect on their time at the conference and take part in a virtual toast and networking session.

Reflecting on the associations first virtual Americas Connect Cooper said: “A year ago I would not have imagined an IACC conference taking place online and at the same time welcoming our largest global gathering in our 40-year history. It is testament to the fact that IACC community doesn’t let anything stand in the way of coming together and supporting each other. 

He continued: “We have had some fantastic feedback from our attendees  and I truly hope that many of the first time attendees that joined Virtual Connect will come back in person next year, when the conference takes place in Dallas in March. It will be a truly special live event.”

The next IACC Americas Connect will take place on 8 - 10 March 2021 at Delta Hotels | Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek in Texas.

-End -

About IACC

Founded in 1981, IACC is dedicated to representing the best meeting venues globally and is, by definition, the future of the meetings industry realised. The association brings together the brightest, most innovative minds from around the globe.  IACC elevates the meeting experience by creating a unique point of entry that is inclusive of the best-in-class meeting venues internationally.  IACC membership is a symbol of meeting excellence and exceptional connections amongst the best in the meeting industry.  This exclusiveness makes IACC’s members part of an elite group representing the most innovative, forward-thinking and results-driven meeting venues globally.

All members meet a set of stringent Quality Standards and agree to a Code of Ethics.  IACC includes over 400 member conference venues from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Wales, Canada, Costa Rica and the United States.

The IACC Mission Statement: "To bring together the brightest industry minds to promote the best meeting venues, which deliver exceptional meeting experiences.  There are meetings... And then there are IACC Meetings".

The IACC Vision: “IACC is a global community of passionate people and organisations delivering innovative and exceptional meeting experiences.

May 27, 2020
Statement on Marriott International’s COVID-19 Update to Associates

Marriott International today provided an update to the company’s global workforce on the continuing impact of COVID-19 on its business.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a more severe and sustained financial impact on Marriott’s business than 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis, combined. From the first warning signs of this unprecedented event, the company took a number of steps to adapt and strengthen its business including reducing costs significantly and improving its liquidity. Today, Marriott informed its associates that the company will need to implement additional measures in light of the increasing likelihood that it will be some time before lodging demand and RevPAR levels recover. Specifically, the company informed above-property associates in the United States that furloughs and reduced work week schedules which began in April will be extended through October 2, 2020. Marriott is also rolling out a voluntary transition program for on-property and above-property associates in the United States who may choose to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. Similar voluntary programs are being considered in other parts of the world. Given the company’s expectation that prior levels of business will not return until beyond 2021, the company anticipates a significant number of above-property position eliminations later this year. The company is not able at this time to predict how many associates will be affected by these separations or any resulting charges or cost savings.

All statements in this update are made as of May 27, 2020. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. This update contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of federal securities laws, including statements related to the expected effects on our business of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it (COVID-19); future performance of the company and the company's hotels; measures we expect to take in response to COVID-19 and their duration and impact; and similar statements concerning anticipated future events and expectations that are not historical facts. We caution you that these statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to numerous evolving risks and uncertainties that we may not be able to accurately predict or assess, including those we identify below and other risk factors that we identify in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. Risks that could affect forward-looking statements in this update include the duration and scope of COVID-19; actions governments, businesses and individuals take in response to the pandemic; the ability of our owners and franchisees to successfully navigate the impacts of COVID-19; the pace of recovery when the pandemic subsides; and the effects of steps we and our property owners and franchisees take to reduce operating costs and/or enhance certain health and cleanliness protocols at our hotels. Any of these factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations we express or imply in this statement.