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

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.

May 19, 2020
Home spa treatments from hotels and resorts in the Mexican Caribbean, Los Cabos and Costa Rica

From facial treatments to meditations, everyone can feel relaxed and pampered from the comfort of their home. These at home spa treatments  from hotels and resorts in the Mexican Caribbean, Los Cabos and Costa Rica will transform your home into an oasis and recreate the relaxing hotel spa experience.

Muluk Spa at Hotel Xcaret Mexico

Muluk Spa

Treatment: Coffee and cinnamon infused anti-cellulite body scrub - for exfoliating and eliminating toxins

    •    50g of ground coffee (try to recycle leftover coffee from morning brew)
    •    50g of brown sugar
    •    15g of powdered cinnamon
    •    20g of coconut oil


    •    Mix all four ingredients together.
    •    With wet skin, apply the mixture to your body area of choice in circular motions from bottom to top.
    •    Let the scrub rest for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
    •    Post shower apply a moisturizing cream to the same areas.

Kinan Spa at Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa

Kinan Spa

Treatment: Avocado Mask

    •    1/2 avocado
    •    20 ml honey
    •    small bowl
    •    Remove the pulp from the avocado and pour the honey into the bowl. Stir well until you get a paste.
    •    Wash your face. Apply the mixture and let it rest for 10 minutes.
    •    Remove the paste with abundant water. Apply the face creamy you use regularly.


The House of AïA at Palmaïa

House of AïA

Treatment: Meditation tips from Shaman Balder

Ingredients: a comfortable seat and an open mind


  • Set your meditation up for success and try to avoid being tired or uncomfortable.
  • Before starting your practice make sure you a comfortable place to sit with good support that allows you to maintain your posture for a long time. If necessary, continue your practice lying down.
  • Look for a suitable place and merge your body and mind with the environment around you, let the sounds that are not under your control be the ones that relax you and lead you into your meditation.
  • Soften the body by relaxing your breath. Start with the muscles of the face, specially your tongue, letting it fall inside your mouth without touching any of the teeth or palate. Continue relaxing each muscle until you reach the feet.
  • Focus on the internal movements of the body and once you have completed the steps above, start to feel the flow of your blood the beat of your pulse. Follow the air path from the nostrils to the lungs and back, and finally pay attention until you can clearly feel every heartbeat. At this point you will be ready to enter meditation.

Gem Spa at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

Treatment: Rice Facial Mask
Rice acts as an anti-aging agent as it lightens the skin, removes sun spots, firms and nourishes the skin.
    •    water
    •    raw rice  

    •    Blend raw rice (do not cook) until it becomes a powdered texture.
    •    Mix with water until you get a clayish texture.
    •    Apply to face and let sit for 15 to 20 min and rinse afterward.


Milagro Spa at Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences

Milagro Spa

Treatment: Honey Exfoliation Scrub Treatment

    •    1/2 cup of white sugar
    •    3 tablespoons of honey
    •    2 tablespoons of olive oil or almond oil
    •    Mix the sugar and honey in a bowl with a spoon until you have a thick paste.
    •    Add the olive oil or almond oil and stir until it’s fully integrated to the scrub.
    •    Wash your face and remove all makeup before applying the mix.
    •    Apply the scrub to your face in circular movements without applying too much pressure and avoid applying in the area around your eyes.
    •    Relax and leave the scrub for approximately 10 minutes. Remove with warm water.


Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas

Cala Luna

Treatment: Therapeutic Wave Treatments

Red Wave:

  • Therapeutic tension release for the neck, head, shoulders, feet and legs. This rhythmic lavender & mint massage is boosted with revitalizing Blue Zone Marine salts and herbs, and a feet and leg scrub.

Green Wave:

  • Therapeutic tension release of arms, face, shoulders, and neck; including long flowing strokes, passive stretching, body balancing, with kneading and massage techniques. This healing massage aims to release deep sorrows and heal old wounds which prevent growth.

Blue Wave:

  • Therapeutic tension release for the entire back of the body. A comprehensive massage of the back, legs and feet. Mint and citric essential oils stimulate the reflex points on the feet, acting on the parasympathetic system to relax the body.


CONTACT: Marissa Labadie
Carolyn Izzo Integrated Communications (CIIC) | 305.677.3904

May 18, 2020
IHG® Hotels & Resorts offers a fresh take on clean

IHG enhances guest experience with new cleaning protocols, service standards and partners, and launches a Clean Promise to give guests confidence as they re-establish travel norms

As the world adjusts to new travel norms and expectations, IHG® Hotels & Resorts is enhancing the experience for its hotel guests around the world, by redefining cleanliness and supporting guests’ personal wellbeing throughout their stay. 

Using new, science-led protocols and service measures, partnering with industry leading experts Cleveland ClinicEcolab and Diversey, and launching a global IHG Clean Promise, the strengthened measures will give guests greater confidence and hotel teams the protection needed.

Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG, commented: “The future of travel may look different, but a safe, secure stay is fundamental to deliver True Hospitality – and that will never change. By combining IHG’s world-class knowledge and processes, with cutting-edge expertise from Cleveland Clinic, Ecolab and Diversey, we can reassure guests and colleagues that we’re focused on protecting their health and wellbeing. This includes looking at where technology can make a difference, deploying enhanced, highly visible and more frequent cleaning measures, and different approaches to food and beverage, all underpinned by our new IHG Clean Promise.”

Enhancing IHG Way of Clean
IHG has a long-standing commitment to rigorous cleaning procedures. Launched in 2015, the IHG Way of Clean programme was developed with Ecolab and Diversey, both world leaders in hygiene and cleaning technologies and services. This programme is now being expanded with additional COVID-19 protocols and best practices - many of which are already in place - to reflect the advice of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and local public health authorities in markets around the world. 

IHG Way of Clean already includes deep cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants and going forward guests can expect to see evolved procedures in every area of the hotel, which may include:

- Reception: Reduced contact at check-in, touchless transactions, front-desk screens, sanitiser stations, sanitised key cards, paperless checkout

- Guest Room: Visible verification of sanitised items (e.g., glassware, remote control), reduction of in-room furnishings/high-touch items, new laundry protocols, use of new technology

- Public Spaces and Facilities: Additional deep cleaning of high-touch surfaces, social distancing, "last cleaned" charts, best practices for pools, fitness centres and lounges 

- Food & Beverage: New standards and service approach to buffets, banquets, room service and catering

Supporting the Wellbeing of Guests and Colleagues 
Enabling the personal wellbeing of guests and colleagues is key. IHG is working closely with a team of medical experts at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic to develop guidance and resources for hotel teams on returning to work and keeping guests safe in this new environment, which may include: 

- Cleanliness information in hotels and on IHG’s booking channels 

- Social distancing operating procedures and signage

- Guidance on the use of protective equipment as necessary by hotel colleagues

- Updated colleague training and certification 

- Availability of individual guest amenity cleaning kits 

- Hand sanitiser and disinfecting wipes available in guest rooms and at high-touch points throughout hotels

IHG Clean Promise and Global Cleanliness Board
With updated measures in place, IHG is launching a Clean Promise. Rolling out globally from 1 June 2020, guests can be reassured that their room will meet IHG’s high standards of cleanliness. If not, the hotel will make it right. 

Leading this work is IHG’s new Global Cleanliness Board, a group of IHG experts in operations, health, safety and guest experience, working with our new external specialists, including James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic, to define solutions, best practice and implement processes.

While on-property, hotel teams will also appoint Clean Champions to continue building the culture of clean instilled in IHG hotels around the world. These champions will focus on guests and colleagues as they navigate the new environment and help on-property teams to consistently deliver these elevated cleanliness standards.

For more information, please visit

May 15, 2020
Tourism HR Canada Launching COVID-19 Workforce Recovery Toolkit

Business-focused toolkit will support Canadian tourism's small to medium size enterprises navigate COVID-19 recovery efforts

Ottawa, ON (May 14, 2020) - Tourism HR Canada is developing the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit to help the industry get up and running as quickly as possible and build resiliency for the medium- to long-term. 

Beginning this Friday, May 15, those in the industry will be able to sign up at (English) and (French) to receive access and updates as Modules are launched in the coming weeks. The full COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit will be released in June with a French version immediately following.  

“Canada’s tourism industry will not return to 2019 levels in the near future. As the national workforce development organization working for the tourism sector, our goal is to provide the knowledge and tools to help tourism employers and employees rebound from the crisis and build a resilient workforce,” said Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada.

Since COVID-19 shutdowns began, tourism employment in Canada has decreased by 881,700 jobs - a 43 per cent decrease.

Once completed, the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit will be a free resource based on best practices and aligned with the needs of tourism SMEs across the country. It will be a practical web-based program that will include presentations, downloadable worksheets and tools to help tourism operators in their recovery and reopening efforts. The contents of the toolkit were developed based on a series of in-depth interviews conducted with SMEs nationwide during the last month to understand their current reality and their future needs as the country rebounds from the impact of the pandemic. The toolkit will be updated regularly with new content focused on topics like human resources, crisis communications, marketing, budgeting and finance and strategic planning - all focused on business recovery and resiliency. 

“This timely new resource builds on our 25 years of leading national HR and workforce initiatives for the tourism sector,” states Mondor. “The Workforce Recovery Toolkit is a forward-looking resource that will assist employers, entrepreneurs and the workforce as a whole to plan for the new normal. It tackles crucial questions facing operators: How do I manage my workforce needs as I gradually re-open? Will my customer-base change and what are their expectations? How do I retool my daily operations to meet changing demand? This resource will guide them through the uncertainty and support their resiliency.”

Created with support from Ottawa-based Alphabet Creative and Vancouver-based Twenty31 Consulting, the toolkit will align with industry-specific tools already available and include five modules focusing on Workforce Development, Communications, Budget & Finance, Marketing and Strategic Planning. Each module will provide businesses with a roadmap containing two key components and actionable tools and tips for implementation. The two components are:

  • Plan - Design and establish policies, procedures and plans for major business and societal disruptions.
  • Respond - Navigate new pressures and address critical questions at the onset of a major disruption; Enable rapid response and decision-making to prioritize effectively.

Recognizing there are varying needs and challenges faced within the tourism industry, SMEs can access comprehensive sector-specific HR content in the following areas:

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Food and Beverage
  • Travel Services
  • Recreation and Entertainment


About Tourism HR Canada

Tourism HR Canada is a pan-Canadian organization with a mandate aimed at building a world-leading tourism workforce. Tourism HR Canada facilitates, coordinates and enables human resource development activities that support a globally competitive and sustainable industry and foster the development of a dynamic and resilient workforce.


Media Contact

Nicole Amiel

Director - Eastern Canada 

Beattie Tartan


May 13, 2020
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Collaborates with Johns Hopkins Medicine International on Enhanced Health and Safety Program at Properties Worldwide

International health care experts to validate enhanced procedures of Lead With Care, the company's new global program, and provide ongoing guidance as part of broader collaboration.

TORONTO, May 13, 2020 /CNW/ -- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world's leading luxury hospitality company, has entered into a collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, the global division of health care and research leader Johns Hopkins Medicine, to validate its new global health and safety program, Lead With Care, and provide ongoing, real-time guidance on the evolving COVID-19 situation. Grounded in the principles of care, trust and service, the Lead With Care program will be reviewed and validated by Johns Hopkins Medicine experts and implemented by dedicated teams at Four Seasons properties around the world.

"Within this new environment, our singular goal is to provide guests, residents and employees with the confidence and assurance that their health and safety is our first priority," says John Davison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. "We are incredibly proud to work alongside the renowned experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine International, leveraging their global expertise to strengthen our already stringent health and safety measures through our new Lead With Care program."

Continues Davison: "For nearly 60 years, Four Seasons has set the global standard for excellence in hospitality and service. Lead With Care is a continuation of this high standard, building upon the strong foundation of trust and confidence that we have established through decades of experience. This new program is about offering genuine care and the highest levels of service, enhancing procedures to protect our guests, residents and employees, while also ensuring that they feel safe and reassured."

Four Seasons and Johns Hopkins Medicine International COVID-19 Advisory Board

Johns Hopkins Medicine International and Four Seasons have established a dedicated COVID-19 Advisory Board, bringing together Four Seasons leadership and top experts from Johns Hopkins Medicine International to inform health and safety decisions based on the latest scientific knowledge.  

Evolving in lockstep with rapidly changing discoveries, the COVID-19 Advisory Board will create, enhance and review current procedures, along with virtual and in-person training to guide implementation of Lead With Care across Four Seasons global portfolio.

This builds upon the early experience of Four Seasons Hotel New York, as well as Four Seasons hotels in Riyadh and Mumbai, in providing accommodation to high-risk medical personnel fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Four Seasons Hotel New York was transformed into a safely zoned environment in a matter of days, implementing enhanced procedures to safely house guests, as well as properly train all employees.

Lead With Care: Four Seasons Enhanced Global Health and Safety Program

Grounded in health care expertise and enabled by access to leading technologies and tools, the Lead With Care program is focused on providing care, confidence and comfort to all Four Seasons guests, employees and residents within the new COVID-19 environment. The new program outlines clear procedures that educate and empower Four Seasons employees to take care of guests and each other.

"Along with already-commonplace measures such as more sanitizers, masks and heightened cleaning and hygiene, our collaboration with Johns Hopkins equips our property teams with access to leading international experts and real-time COVID-19 information, enhancing our tools and training to deliver an experience grounded in safety and trust," says Christian Clerc, President, Global Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. "While the Four Seasons experience may look different in this new environment, it will ultimately feel the same – our dedicated people will continue to deliver the same intuitive service and personalized care for which Four Seasons is known and trusted for the world over."

Four Seasons collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine International will ensure the review and validation of the Lead With Care program in two phases. 

Phase one of the collaboration – Review and Validation – involves a comprehensive review of Four Seasons existing health and safety procedures along with enhanced protocols in response to the current situation at a global, regional and property level.  Working closely with Johns Hopkins Medicine experts ensures Four Seasons is at the forefront of the latest research findings and recommendations.

Phase two – Ongoing Guidance – provides Four Seasons with ongoing collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Medicine International team, including direct access to curated critical updates, relevant COVID-19 research outcomes, and expert advice to ensure real-time adjustments to operating procedures. Customized through on-property Hygiene Officers, this will allow Four Seasons to respond quickly and anticipate future needs, providing assurance that all appropriate infection control safety measures have been taken.

Four Seasons and Johns Hopkins will also establish a joint Response Team where senior experts in infectious diseases from Johns Hopkins will provide on-demand response and guidance to hotels facing COVID-19 situations. 

Lead With Care Backgrounder

To support the development of procedures to be verified by Johns Hopkins, as well as the procurement of supplies and equipment for Lead With Care implementation, Four Seasons will be working closely with EcoLab and International SOS –  who were also critical in the transformation of the Four Seasons hotels in New York, Riyadh and Mumbai that housed medical personnel.

While guests will see many of the enhanced Lead With Care procedures, behind-the-scenes measures will also take place through employee training, additional food handling protocols, and enhancements to ventilation systems and other back-of-the-house operations.

In addition, Four Seasons continues to invest in its award-winning App and Chat that further allows guests to control how they engage with others – limiting face-to-face interactions while maintaining the highest levels of personal service. Since its launch in 2017, the popular Four Seasons Chat – one of the only in the industry to be supported by actual employees on property, versus chatbots – has received 10+ million messages and averages approximately 580,000 messages a month. Features include the ability to make and manage reservations, request luggage pickup, airport transfers, room service, restaurant and spa reservations, and much more. Wait-free check-in and check-out is also offered, while Four Seasons Chat integration offers instant translation of 100+ languages giving guests the flexibility for contactless engagement throughout their stay.

Additional details about the Lead With Care enhanced health and safety program can be found below:

Enhanced Cleanliness

  • Each Four Seasons property appointing a Hygiene Officer focused on implementing enhancements to already stringent procedures;
  • Rooms disinfected daily with EPA approved products and will have blacklight inspection by room attendants;
  • Focused re-training programs for Housekeeping teams on all cleaning protocols are being implemented across the portfolio;
  • Public areas cleaned hourly with extra attention to frequented areas including front desk counters and public restrooms;
  • The COVID-19 Advisory Board exploring an array of options to equip properties with the latest tools and technology, including electrostatic spraying, ozone technology for air purification and/or UV technology for HVAC systems.

Heightened Guest Safety and Comfort:

  • Lead With Care kits placed in each guest room providing masks, hand sanitizer and sanitization wipes, with additional masks supplied on demand;
  • Social distancing measures embedded in all services for guest protection, including appropriately spaced fitness equipment, modified spa menu and services, contactless check-in and housekeeping services;
  • Restaurants and bars may operate with reduced capacity to ensure adequate space and socially distant set-up;
  • Nearly all restaurants providing a-la-carte service with digital menus wherever possible;
  • In Room Dining offering contactless delivery outside guestrooms along with sustainable, single-use packaging;
  • Four Seasons App and Chat providing guests with real-time, contactless interactions with employees from their own device on nine global platforms and in 100+ different languages.

Empowered Employees:

  • Lead With Care training building on Four Seasons legendary service model and diligent attention to detail, ensuring Lead With Care procedures are delivered in a thoughtful, attentive manner that balances guest safety with personal reassurance and comfort;
  • Training focused on educating and empowering employees to deliver the enhanced health and safety program with confidence, passing on this care to each and every guest and resident;
  • The COVID-19 Advisory Board advising on the global training program for all employees including: ensuring employees have a well-informed understanding of the disease and its transmission, providing guidance on appropriate social distancing and use of personal protective equipment, as well as physical and mental health monitoring and support;
  • Grounded in emotional intelligence, employees are undergoing behavioural training, ensuring empathetic, personalized care and connection are not lost in the absence of close contact and limited face to face interaction.

About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Founded in 1960, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is dedicated to perfecting the travel experience through continual innovation and the highest standards of hospitality. Currently operating 117 hotels and resorts, and 45 residential properties in major city centres and resort destinations in 47 countries, and with more than 50 projects under planning or development, Four Seasons consistently ranks among the world's best hotels and most prestigious brands in reader polls, traveller reviews and industry awards. For more information and reservations, visit For the latest news, visit and follow @FourSeasonsPR on Twitter.

About Johns Hopkins Medicine International

Johns Hopkins Medicine International is the Johns Hopkins Medicine entity entrusted with global advancement of the mission: to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and care. Johns Hopkins Medicine International develops high-impact collaborations throughout the world by leveraging Johns Hopkins' extensive knowledge of medicine, nursing, public health, medical education, research and health care administration to improve health and health care delivery. Johns Hopkins Medicine International also facilitates personalized, culturally appropriate care for Johns Hopkins Medicine's global patients, as well as specialized concierge health care services. 

Matthew Levison     

May 07, 2020
SITE Foundation to launch long form geographical and sectoral reports on Incentive Travel during PlanetIMEX

Chicago – Thursday, 7 May 2020 On Tuesday next, 12 May 2020, at the inaugural PlanetIMEX Community Day, SITE Foundation will launch 2 long form studies commissioned from data compiled from the Incentive Travel Industry Index (ITII), its joint annual research project with partners, Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP).

“The depth and range of the data was such that we were able to commission individual geographical studies for Europe and Asia and a stand-alone study for the DMC sector to complement the global ITII report previously released at IMEX America 2019. While the Covid-19 crisis has significantly altered the incentive travel landscape in 2020, we felt the underlying regional and sectoral stories were sufficiently compelling and robust to merit release at this time. I encourage all incentive travel professionals but particularly those living and working in Europe and those in the DMC sector to download these comprehensive studies from the SITEGlobal website”, said Carina Bauer, CEO, The IMEX Group & President, 2020, SITE Foundation.

Tina Weede, CITP, CRP, President & CEO, Peerless Performance and Vice President - Research and Content, SITE Foundation added: “I’m proud to announce the launch of these studies and especially delighted with the strong team of incentive professionals that have been lined up to help us do so.

The DMC Report will be launched as a Podcast with Erica Sep, Head of Sales for Asia, Pacific World, Huw Tuckett, CEO, Euromic and Jennifer Patino, CEO, Hosts Global joining Podcast supremo, Wayne Wallgren of SITE Texas, for a conversation on the nature, purpose and direction of the DMC sector. The Europe Report, meanwhile, will be a live webinar moderated by SITE Foundation trustee, Hamish Reid of Hills Balfour with industry veteran, Miek Egberts of InspireMe, Monaco & France and Holly Mills, Head of Incentives at Penguins.”


Key Points / Findings – Europe Report

  • 517 responses – 44% buyers, 56% supplier
  • Focus on 2 key source markets – Great Britain and Germany
  • When compared to North America, European incentive travel programmes are less luxurious, more focused on soft power and more likely to include a meeting component
  • Europeans value uniqueness and authenticity of destination over the quality of hotel or resort
  • No such thing as a typical European programme – source markets are not aligned when it comes to overall programme design


Key Points / Findings – DMC Report

  • 537 responses – 29% North America, 30% Europe, 23% Asia
  • DMCs are not one-global-size-fits-all with different business models in different regions particularly in relation to business referrals
  • DMCs manage between 40% and 60% of the total destination budget but this is lower amongst North American DMCs
  • DMCs receive 60% of their business on average from agencies and 40% direct for corporate or association clients
  • DMCs believe that their percentage share of overall budget will fall by 9% over the next 5 years

DMC Report
PODCAST released at 8am Chicago | 2pm London | 9pm Singapore with Wayne Wallgren in conversation with Erica Sep, Head of Sales, Pacific World Asia, Huw Tuckett, Executive Director, Euromic, Jennifer Patino, CEO, Hosts Global

Podcast available at:

Europe Report

LIVE STREAMING at 9am Chicago | 3pm London |10pm Singapore with moderator

Hamish Reid, MMGY Hills Balfour and panellists Miek Egberts, InspireMe and Holly Mills, Penguins

Register at:

About SITE Foundation

Raising funds to drive the business case for incentive travel and support professional development within the industry

SITE Foundation, a registered charity holding a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization status, was established by SITE to raise funds and support research, education and advocacy projects on behalf of the incentive travel industry.

Since 2017, SITE Foundation has invested over $1.275m to support the power & sustainable growth of incentive travel. Spanning research, education and advocacy, these initiatives include the annual publication of the Incentive Travel Industry Index, the development of educational programming and professional accreditation and the creation of Motivate, an on-line content repository dedicated to the métier of incentive travel professionals

About Incentive Travel Industry Index

A joint initiative of Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP), Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), the Incentive Travel Industry Index (ITII) is a pan-industry study of the nature, purpose and direction of incentive travel, at once a historical snapshot of where the industry has come from and a predictive hypothesis of where it’s going.

The Index is created in partnership with Oxford Economics, a leading independent research company, well known to global incentive travel professionals for its extensive work with the Events Industry Council (EIC), US Travel Association and Meetings Mean Business coalition.

May 06, 2020
VIA Rail extends the suspension of the Canadian and the Ocean

MONTRÉAL, May 6, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - As the COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt its passenger services from coast to coast, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announces the extension of the suspension of the Canadian and the Ocean services, its long-distance routes, and the suspension of the Sleeper class on the Winnipeg-Churchill route until November 1, 2020. While there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to when both domestic and international travel will resume, VIA Rail will continue to assess how it can support the recommendations of the public health authorities in their response to the pandemic and in preparation for the progressive service recovery. 

VIA Rail is also accelerating a previously established comprehensive program for the inspection and repair work regarding its Heritage Modernization Program that started in 2018. At that time, the Corporation undertook initiatives to renovate VIA Rail's HEP equipment which have logged millions of kilometres since being put into service. In the course of recent weeks, some new structural issues have been discovered which will need to be addressed. "As a result, we will be in a position to progressively bring back our renowned long-distance services to full capacity for the upcoming 2021 peak season," said Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO.

"This was not an easy decision to make but, given the current circumstances, the health and safety of our passengers, crew members and local communities must come first. As the travel industry grapples with the effects of COVID-19, we will use this extended pause to assess and identify which measures to implement in order to get back on track as soon and as safely as possible," concluded Cynthia Garneau.

All passengers with reservations affected by this suspension of services will be contacted and reimbursed automatically. To facilitate cancellations and refunds, we've extended our cancellation policy to include all travel through November 1, 2020, to allow passengers to cancel their upcoming reservations autonomously online at any time prior to departure and receive a full refund in addition to not incurring any service charges, regardless of when the ticket was purchased.     

Alternatively, customers may contact the VIA Customer Centre by email at or by phone at 1-888-VIA-RAIL (1-888-842-7245), TTY 1-800-268-9503 (hearing impaired). Due to the current situation related to COVID-19, the VIA Customer Centre is open 9:00 to 17:00, Monday through Friday and it may take some time to speak with an agent due to a reduction in staff.

VIA Rail is adjusting its operations and deploying a strict protocol of sanitary measures on board its trains, in its stations, maintenance centres and call centres in response to the pandemic and in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  We have limited the number of bookable seats aboard our trains in order to provide passengers social distancing space when travelling. 

Furthermore, we constantly remind our passengers and employees of the importance of following the recommendations of the public health authorities, to stay at home, avoid non-essential travel, practice physical distancing as much as possible, and to strictly follow good hygiene practices (wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of their arm, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth without first washing their hands). Although not mandatory and in a view to limit the risks of propagation of COVID-19, VIA Rail also recommends to all its passengers to wear a non-medical mask or face covering that covers the nose and the mouth when travelling on its trains and when it is impossible to respect a distance of separation of 2 metres with others.

We continue to monitor the developments of COVID-19 and we remain in close contact with public health agencies and the federal and provincial governments.

The most recent updates are available on our website.  

About VIA Rail
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail ( and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transported over 5 million passengers in 2019. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. Visit the "About VIA Rail" section at

Follow VIA Rail
Twitter @VIA_rail
Facebook viarailcanada
Instagram @viarailcanada
VIA: The Blog

SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information: Source: Ben Marc Diendéré, Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer, VIA Rail Canada; Information: Marie-Anna Murat, Media Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 1 877 393-8787,

May 06, 2020
Businesses Gearing Up for Reopening After Lockdown: BBW Event Staff is Ready to Help Make That Happen

BBW International Inc, operating as BBW Event Staff announces a shift in scope of service during the pandemic. They are proposing to provide COVID Safety Ambassadors™ to help businesses and properties to safely reopen. Having served the meetings and events industry for nearly 30 years across Canada, “We find ourselves at a crossroad,” says President and co-founder, Henk Bok. “The events industry has been blindsided by the effects of the Corona virus and it has been a big blow to our industry.” At the same time, businesses are overwhelmed with how they will operate under new guidelines for public safety.

With large events cancelled from March 12th into 2021, the pandemic is widespread amongst the consumer and business events industry. Nearly 80 to 90 percent of those who work in these sectors are now unemployed. The Meetings industry has generated $33 billion annually in direct spending, employing over 229,000, directly attributable to business events. The industry generates $19.3 billion in direct GDP.* Most businesses in this sector saw record numbers in 2019 and 2020 was heading in the same direction.

Sheila Wong, Senior Vice President and co-founder states, “We have been left with no option but to pivot our business. If we don’t do something now, we won’t be around on the other side of the pandemic to see our customers and employees again.” She goes on to say, “I’m not letting a virus take us down after three decades.” Sheila is also the President-Elect on the board of the Professional Conference Managers Association (PCMA) Canada East Chapter. She sees the devastation first-hand to her industry colleagues.

While most are anticipating the reopening of the economy with excitement, those behind the scenes are working feverishly to put together strategies to keep their employees and the public safe when we go back to work. The new normal will not be anything like what we left behind. It is because of this that BBW saw a solution for businesses, malls and property managers where crowds will likely form. They are transforming trained customer service professionals from working events to being COVID Safety Ambassadors™ (CSAs). BBW has created a training video which will be hosted on their proprietary eLearning platform, Front-Pro™. “We can track that a learner has completed the training,” says Wong. “Front-Pro has been the tool we’ve used to train our staff for performance standardization in serving the public en masse. So why not use it to get our staff up to speed on COVID safety protocol? We are in survival mode, but more importantly, we can be part of the solution instead of waiting for events to roll out again.” BBW is also making this training available to all businesses for free.


BBW International Inc.

Sheila Wong, Senior Vice President and Co-founder


May 06, 2020
An Update from Our CEO: Marriott’s Commitment to Cleanliness

Since our founding 92 years ago, Marriott International has always placed an emphasis on health and safety for our guests and associates. Our founder, J.W. Marriott, used to personally inspect kitchens and guest rooms for cleanliness during his hotel visits. A high standard of cleanliness is in our DNA.

The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to raise our demanding standards to an even higher level with new protocols for the current circumstances. To tell our story on how Marriott is elevating cleanliness standards and changing hospitality norms, across our portfolio of hotels, we tapped a hospitality veteran, the son of our founder and someone who, like his father, has been known to conduct cleanliness inspections while touring hotels – our Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, Bill Marriott. Take a look >

As you saw in the video, Marriott has put in place a multi-pronged approach designed to meet the health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19. Below is an overview of the key components of Marriott’s Commitment to Cleanliness.

  • Marriott Global Cleanliness Council: Consisting of in-house and outside experts in food and water safety, hygiene and infection prevention, and hotel operations, the council will work to develop a new generation of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors for our more than 7,300 properties around the globe.
  • New Cleaning Technologies: While our council develops its work, we have initiated plans to roll out enhanced technologies at our properties over the next few months, including electrostatic sprayers and the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization to sanitize surfaces throughout hotels.
  • Cleaning Regimen Changes: When guests check into our hotels over the next few months, they will notice a number of additions to our cleaning regimen designed to set an even higher standard of cleanliness for the hotels as well as modifications to associate-guest protocols developed to be consistent with recommended social distancing guidelines.

The steps we're taking on cleanliness and new hospitality norms are as much about the health and safety of associates as they are about our guests. If we’ve learned anything during this pandemic, it is that we are all in this together. By taking care of associates and following these new protocols – we will be collectively taking care of our guests and the global community.

We are all facing an historic battle and most days it is simply about rolling up our sleeves to fight that battle. There are countless moments of humanity and resilience – I see them in how our hotel teams and individual associates are responding to the crisis around them. And that fills me with tremendous hope for the future.

We don’t know when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over or when our lives will return to some sort of normalcy. But we want our guests and our associates to know that when the time comes to travel once again, we will be ready to welcome them back to a safe and clean hotel environment.

Until that time, please stay safe and healthy.

Arne Sorenson
President and CEO, Marriott International

May 06, 2020
Canadian Exposition Industry Launches Recovery Taskforce

Leaders from across the country unite to lay the groundwork for the reopening of trade and consumer shows

Toronto, ON: In response to how COVID-19 has affected the exposition industry, The Canadian Association of Exposition Management (CAEM) has officially announced the formation of the Exposition Recovery Taskforce. The purpose of this taskforce is to put a plan and proposal together for the responsible, safe and effective reopening of our industry.

The taskforce includes leaders from all areas of the exposition sector: facilities, suppliers to the industry, and producers of trade and consumer shows. The group will work towards establishing industry guidelines and recommendations, specific to the expositions sector, in order to demonstrate to policymakers, as well as the public, that we have a clear plan for how to operate, moving forward.  The idea is to unify the exposition industry and work together towards the reopening and recovery of trade and consumer shows.   

“The recovery of our industry will ultimately be dictated by the public feeling safe to gather again in groups,” said Bianca Kennedy, Chair of CAEM’s Exposition Recovery Taskforce. “This taskforce has the ability to showcase thought leadership and develop best practices, in order to demonstrate that trade and consumer shows can implement the necessary protective measures mandated by the provinces.”

The purpose of the Exposition Recovery Taskforce includes, but is not limited to:

  • Gathering and aggregating research on the economic impact of expositions;
  • Developing Best Practices Guidelines for the responsible, safe and effective reopening of trade and consumer shows in Canada that reflect a national overview, while also addressing individual provincial guidelines and reopening plans;
  • Collaborating with other industry associations within the MICE sector in order to ensure clarity, alignment and a unified message for when we approach government; and;
  • Lobbying government to approve the guidelines for the reopening of expositions.

CAEM’s Exposition Recovery Taskforce includes leaders from across the country with a wealth of experience in the Canadian exposition industry. The taskforce members are: 

  • Jennifer Allaby, Vice President, Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows
  • Kevin Blackburn, Managing Partner, Canwest Productions Inc.
  • Fred Cox, President, National Event Management
  • Arlindo Gomes, Vice President, Venue Management, Edmonton Economic Development
  • Trevor Graham, Chief Operating Officer, The International Centre
  • Clark Grue, Chair, Meetings Mean Business
  • Wendell Howes, President, Master Promotions Ltd.
  • Jill Kivett, Regional Vice President, Marketplace Events
  • Mike Lecour, Executive Vice President, GES (ret)
  • Elaine Legault, Director, Events & Client Experience, Palais des congrès de Montréal
  • Sonia Moffatt, CEM, General Manager Toronto, Freeman
  • Greg Newton, General Manager, BMO Centre
  • Ron Pellerine, General Manager, Metro Toronto Convention Centre
  • Laura Purdy, CEM, CMM, General Manager, Exhibition Place/Enercare Centre/Beanfield Centre
  • Anita Schachter, President & CEO, Canadian Gift Association
  • Barry Smith, Executive Director, Convention Centres of Canada
  • Patti Stewart, Executive Vice President, Informa Canada
  • Ralph Strachan, President & CEO, The Stronco Group of Companies
  • Bradley Styba, CEM, Director, Events & Business Development, Tradex
  • Linda Waddell, President & Show Director, Canadian Boat Shows
  • Chair – Bianca Kennedy, 1st Vice President, CAEM
  • Co-Chair – Catherine Macnutt, President, CAEM

“Business events serve as an immense driver of economic growth and innovation,” said Catherine MacNutt, CAEM President. “By uniting as an industry, and by collaborating with our strategic partners across the MICE sector, we can present a unified voice, to advocate for face-to-face events in Canada. I am convinced we will have the best success if we work together to advocate for our industry.”

The taskforce committee's first meeting is scheduled and confirmed for Monday, May 11, 2020. This taskforce will be looking to CAEM members for help collecting data, as well as consulting with the industry on proposed guidelines and sharing regular updates on progress being made.    

About CAEM: CAEM is the national association for Canadian professionals involved in the production, management, and planning of trade and consumer shows. CAEM works on behalf of the exposition industry to provide targeted education and networking, health and safety guidelines, best practices, and positions on regulatory issues. 

For further information, please contact:

CAEM Office

May 06, 2020
PlanetIMEX: The wraps come off IMEX’s imaginative new online experience

Free registration officially open for EduMonday Live, 11 May

PlanetIMEX launches today with an invitation to everyone in the global meetings, events and incentive travel industry to register free of charge for EduMonday Live on 11 May

Today also marks the unveiling of the first two islands on PlanetIMEX -  Education Island and Community Island. These rich, engaging 3-D online experiences will be complemented by a third, Networking Island, due to launch 14 May with a focus on networking and business introductions.

EduMonday Live on Monday 11 May has been designed to give the business events industry the chance to engage, totally free of charge, in a range of carefully curated education sessions led by 40 expert speakers.  

The education platform on PlanetIMEX has been generously supported by partners Cvent and Streamlined Communications. Each education session is also complemented by the CrowdCompass mobile event app to give attendees a more personal experience and the chance to interact with the speaker and other attendees.

In the usual spirit of IMEX, EduMonday Live is provided free of charge, as is access to the whole of PlanetIMEX. For those who can’t attend, IMEX will make all recordings available in an online library later in the month. The day will wrap up with a choice of four light-hearted ‘Social Soirees’ at 4.30pm.

Human psychology, Nature, collaboration, contract negotiations and more

EduMonday Live kicks off at 10am UK time. The programme starts with a welcome by IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom and CEO, Carina Bauer followed by a 10.30am keynote from Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of the Global Destination Sustainability Index, titled ‘The big pivot - Towards a regenerative events industry’.

Among the 40 speakers are Glenn Schoen CEO, Boardroom@Crisis BV; Jonny Round, Managing Director, The Sound Agency; Horst Bayer, Sustainable Travel Consultant and freelancer creative consultant, Robert Dunsmore, plus a host of industry experts. Focusing on business recovery and longer-term strategies are consultant and business change expert, Michael Greenspan and, Global Futurist, Rohit Talwar.

EduMonday Live has been crafted around a series of 20-minute sessions with a few longer workshops offering a deeper dive. Sessions will address hot topics including resilience, the future of work, creative event design for a new era, crisis communication, contract negotiations, technology, wellbeing and psychology. 

She Means Business panel discussion

Also taking place on EduMonday Live is She Means Business, a joint event by IMEX and TW Magazine supported by MPI. This will be a live panel discussion where women in the business events industry will share some of the toughest decisions they’ve had to make due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent lockdown. 

Island hopping with a purpose – Community Day, 12 May

On Tuesday 12 May PlanetIMEX will host a dedicated Community Day when more than a dozen industry partners and associations will offer a combination of live learning and recorded sessions, including panels, webinars, videos and forums. 

While all education and professional development will take place via Education Island, Community Island is the hub for light-hearted social activities as well as news and updates from IMEX’s global events industry partners and the wider community. These handpicked stories all come to life on the Island’s pop-up Community Notice Board. 

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains, “I’d like to say today has been a long time coming but we’ve managed to pull off this exceptional project in just six weeks! We’re delighted to be giving back to the industry with this carefully designed online experience intended to give everyone, and all sectors, something of value, be that business introductions, new insights and learnings or simply the chance to socialise with each other in a fresh new way. This is just the start. There’s plenty more planned and we’re still evolving this concept and learning as we go. We can’t wait for people to sign up for EduMonday Live and also to dive in and explore PlanetIMEX.”

Click here for the full EduMonday live programme and free registration.


April 29, 2020
Loto-Québec and the Casino du Lac-Leamy team up with La Tablée des Chefs to distribute over 16,000 meals a week to people in need

Montreal/CNW Telbec/—Loto-Québec is once again partnering with La Tablée des Chefs through Les Cuisines Solidaires, a project aimed at helping people in need during the COVID-19 crisis. Next Monday, the Casino du Lac-Leamy will reopen its kitchens to prepare more than 16,000 meals to Moisson Outaouais every week. To help the Food Banks of Québec, La Tablée des Chefs recently launched Les Cuisines Solidaires, mobilizing the food industry and chefs across Québec in order to prepare more than 1,600,000 meals, and feed people in need during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

"We're happy to welcome the Casino du Lac-Leamy into our Cuisines Solidaires project. Its infrastructure and expertise will enable the Casino to contribute significantly to the project's overall output. Thanks to its support and that of the project's other partners, we have surpassed the 1,600,000 meal mark," said Jean-François Archambault, General Director and founder of La Tablée des Chefs.

"Loto-Québec is excited to take part in La Tablée des Chefs's generous initiative and reopen the Casino du Lac-Leamy's kitchens during these difficult times to provide thousands of meals to Moisson Outaouais and the most vulnerable among us," said Lynne Roiter, President and CEO of Loto-Québec.

On April 17, Loto-Québec first collaborated with La Tablée des Chefs when it reopened the Casino de Montréal's kitchens to provide 35,000 meals a week to those in need in Greater Montréal. In addition, Loto-Québec has chosen to give back to La Tablée des Chefs the amount of $1 per meal that it usually pays to participants of the Les Cuisines Solidaires project. Considering the number of meals supplied by the two casinos, this represents a contribution of approximately $150,000 a month.

On March 12, just one week after it closed its casinos, Loto-Québec donated several pallets of foodstuffs and supplies stocked in its warehouses to the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and all 19 Moisson centres across Québec, in addition to donating $1,000,000 to the Moisson network.

SOURCE Loto-Québec

For further information: Source: Patrice Lavoie, Corporate Director, Media and Public Affairs, Loto-Québec, 514-499-5130,,; Information: Renaud Dugas, Senior Advisor, Media and Public Affairs, Loto-Québec, 514-499-5208,

April 22, 2020
EproDirect creates a free COVID-19 Hotel Status Directory for hotels worldwide

Provider of innovative hospitality marketing solutions, EproDirect announces the launch of an online directory to keep meeting planners around the world up to date with the current status of hotels globally

EproDirect has again reiterated their goal to support the hospitality industry, to have the best possible experience with the launch of their Free COVID-19 Directory  for hotels worldwide. The online directory is aimed at providing meeting planners and travelers with the most updated status of hotels in different parts of the world, which will be shared with EproDirect’s community of over 80,000 meeting and event planners and travel counselors.  The goal is to make it easier and more effective for meeting planners to plan for meetings and events with both immediate needs, as well as future needs, especially amidst the COVID-19 threat.  The directory has been dubbed by meeting planners and travel counselors as, “The most essential resource during this time”.

The Novel COVID-19 has continued to wreak havoc in several countries across the globe, with the WHO declaring the virus a pandemic due to its widespread impact with more than a million people already infected by the virus. Consequently, governments in different parts of the world have taken measures to curb the spread of the virus with such measures including lockdowns and restrictions in the gathering of people. It has become extremely difficult for people to go about their daily activities including meetings. Event and meeting planners have also found it difficult to adequately and effectively put together meetings due to the complexities of knowing if the hotels are accepting group business RFP’s and also knowing the appropriate contacts based on layoffs and furloughs. This is where EproDirect is looking to be of great help again to the hospitality industry with the launch of the free COVID-19 Directory for hotels.

The online directory offers hotels not only the opportunity to increase their exposure, but also helps bridge the gap between suppliers and meeting planners. The user-friendly directory allows users to have their hotel open/closed status and also if they are currently accepting RFPs for current and future needs.

Hotels go HERE to be added for FREE.

About EproDirect
EproDirect is an email marketing agency that focuses exclusively on the meetings and convention segments of the hospitality industry. Founded in 2002, the company has worked with thousands of clients, launched tens of thousands of email marketing campaigns targeting their database of over 80,000 qualified meeting planner subscribers and generates thousands of new group business opportunities for hotels, resorts, destinations, and other meeting suppliers.  For more information about EproDirect, please visit -

Chaunsea Keller, Executive Vice President

April 21, 2020
Marriott International Launches Global Cleanliness Council to Promote Even Higher Standards of Cleanliness in the Age of COVID-19

Company to roll out enhanced technology to help counter virus spread; new multi-pronged platform details increased safety measures for guests and associates

Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR), which for 92 years has been recognized as a hospitality leader for its commitment to quality, exacting standards, and rigorous training, announced today that it will be rolling out a multi-pronged platform to elevate its cleanliness standards and hospitality norms and behaviors to meet the new health and safety challenges presented by the current pandemic environment.

“We are living in a new age, with COVID-19 front and center for our guests and our associates,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International. “We are grateful for the trust our guests have shown us through the years. We want our guests to understand what we are doing today and planning for in the near future in the areas of cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing so that when they walk through the doors of one of our hotels, they know our commitment to their health and safety is our priority. It’s equally important to us that our associates know the changes we are making to help safeguard their health as they serve our guests.”

A New Way of Looking at Cleanliness
Marriott, which has long had a reputation for high standards of hotel cleanliness with well-established cleaning processes and training in place, has created the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to tackle the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic at the hotel level and further advance the company’s efforts in this area. The Marriott Global Cleanliness Council is focused on developing the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors that are designed to minimize risk and enhance safety for consumers and Marriott associates alike.

The Council is chaired by Ray Bennett, Chief Global Officer, Global Operations, Marriott International, and will benefit from knowledge and input from both in-house and outside experts including senior leaders from across Marriott disciplines like housekeeping, engineering, food safety, occupational health and associate wellbeing. The Council also includes advisory members Dr. Ruth L. Petran, Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety & Public Health for Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services; Dr. Michael A. Sauri, Infectious Disease Specialist at Adventist Healthcare; Dr. Richard Ghiselli, Head of the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Purdue University; and Dr. Randy Worobo, Professor of Food Microbiology in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University.

“Marriott has a long tradition of emphasizing cleanliness in our care of guest rooms and in the public spaces of our hotels,” said Bennett. “Through the council and scientific advice of experts, we are taking a thoughtful approach to set an even higher bar of cleanliness and develop new guest interaction protocols. The Marriott Global Cleanliness Council is focused on more than just disinfection across the hotel, we are providing a holistic approach designed to take care of our guests and associates.”

Enhanced Technology to Counter Virus Spread
Marriott is rolling out enhanced technologies over the next few months, including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. Electrostatic spraying technology uses the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to treat known pathogens. The sprayers rapidly clean and disinfect entire areas and can be used in a hotel setting to clean and disinfect guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas. In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing keys for guests and devices shared by associates.

Cleanliness Changes
Over the next few months, when guests are in hotels within the Marriott portfolio, they will notice a number of additions to our cleaning regimen designed to set an even higher standard of cleanliness for the hotels. Specific areas of focus include:

  • Surface Areas: COVID-19 has raised awareness about the importance of high-touch surface cleanliness. In public spaces, the company has added to its already rigorous cleaning protocols, requiring that surfaces are thoroughly treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency. In guest rooms, the company has likewise added to its rigorous protocols, requiring that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. Marriott will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests’ personal use.
  • Guest Contact: The CDC and WHO warn about direct, person-to-person contact as the primary way COVID-19 is spread. To help alleviate the risk of transmission this way, the company will be using signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and removing or re-arranging furniture to allow more space for distancing. Marriott is also evaluating adding partitions at front desks to provide an extra level of precaution for our guests and associates and is working with supply chain partners to make masks and gloves available to associates. The company is installing more hand sanitizing stations at the entrances to its hotels, near the front desk, elevator banks and fitness and meeting spaces. In addition, in over 3,200 of Marriott’s hotels, guests can choose to use their phones to check in, access their rooms, make special requests and order room service that will be specially packaged and delivered right to the door without contact.
  • Food Safety: Marriott’s food safety program includes enhanced sanitation guidelines and training videos for all operational associates that includes hygiene and disinfecting practices. At Marriott, all food handlers and supervisors are trained on safe food preparation and service practices. Marriott’s food and beverage operations are required to conduct self-inspection using the company’s food safety standards as guidelines, and compliance is validated by independent audits. In addition, the company is modifying its operational practices for in-room dining and designing new approaches to buffets.

“Safety for our guests and associates has always been a top priority for Marriott and today that discussion of safety is in the context of COVID-19,” said Bennett. “We want our guests to know that we are doing everything we can to welcome them back to a safe and clean hotel environment when they start traveling again.”

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,300 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 134 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at, and for the latest company news, visit In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

April 20, 2020
Air Canada Proudly Brings Thousands of Canadians Home

Montreal/CNW Telbec/—As its special flights operated in collaboration with the Government of Canada draw to an end, Air Canada today saluted hundreds of its employees who have worked to fly thousands of stranded Canadians home. The program, which began March 21, has repatriated approximately 6,600 Canadians from Morocco, Spain, Ecuador, Peru, Algeria, Argentina, and Colombia.

"Overnight, the COVID‑19 crisis struck the entire planet in unprecedented ways and thousands of our fellow Canadians found themselves stranded abroad as a result of the numerous restrictions quickly imposed by various governments," said Ferio Pugliese, Senior Vice President, Air Canada Express and Government Relations at Air Canada. "Heartfelt thanks must first be given to our crews, who agreed to be on the front lines to support these thousands of people eager to get home to be among their loved ones during these difficult times. The tireless efforts, dedication, compassion and professionalism of our employees on the ground and the terrific job they did expertly carrying out these complex, global operations have been nothing short of exemplary. Our customers and their families have shared with us their relief and feeling as if they were already home, once they boarded our flights, and we are proud to bring them back to Canada." 

In total, Air Canada operated 21 special flights using wide‑body aircraft in close cooperation with Global Affairs Canada. Air Canada remains available to operate additional special flights in collaboration with the federal government. The program to date has included:

  • Seven flights from Lima
  • Four flights from Quito
  • Three flights from Casablanca
  • Four flights from Algiers
  • One flight from Barcelona
  • One flight from Bogotá
  • One flight from Buenos Aires

"Over the past few weeks, we have mounted one of the largest repatriation operations of Canadian travellers stranded abroad in the country's history. All returning travellers are subject to a mandatory self-isolation period of 14 days. We faced unprecedented obstacles, from airspace closures to tight travel restrictions," said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs. "Air Canada played a vital role in bringing thousands of our fellow Canadians home. I want to thank all those who worked day and night to make this major undertaking possible."

Over 300,000 Canadians transported on Air Canada's commercial flights
Despite a significant reduction in its network, Air Canada continues its repatriation efforts on its regular commercial flights. Since March 15, it has brought more than 300,000 passengers back to Canada from Asia, Europe, Caribbean/South America and the United States. This included Canadians repatriated from India, South Africa, Croatia, Serbia and the UAE through its London-Heathrow air link.

Nearly 250 tonnes of PPE delivered across the country
Through Air Canada Cargo, Air Canada continues its operations to transport medical supplies and essential goods. Since March 1st, it has carried nearly 250 tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPE) across the country. The first flight full of freight on Air Canada's converted Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft arrived on April 18 from Shanghai via Narita with more than 20 tonnes of face masks, many for Canadian front-line health care workers. Air Canada has operated 106 all-cargo flights since March 22 between Asia, Europe, South America, and Canada and plans to operate up to 20 all-cargo flights per week using a combination of the three newly converted Boeing 777s and Boeing 787s, in addition to current scheduled flights to London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Hong Kong. Air Canada Cargo has been working with its supply chain partners and shippers to transport medical supplies from Asia and Europe to Canada and will continue exploring additional opportunities as needed in all regions of the globe. Its freight division has long been a key player and a crucial link in global supply chains, and the disruptions caused by the COVID‑19 pandemic are making cargo capacities more important than ever.

Over 14,000 kg of food re-distributed across Canada
To date, Air Canada and the Air Canada Foundation have donated 14,118 kg of food items originally intended for Air Canada flights, the equivalent of nearly 31,000 meals to be redistributed to help support Canadian families in need. This national food rescue effort through Second Harvest has directly supported 17 organizations across the country from Vancouver to Halifax, including Leduc & District Food Bank, Leftovers Foundation, DreamMind Inc., among several others.

About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline. Canada's flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2019 served over 51 million customers. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax, which also named Air Canada the 2019 Best Airline in North America. For more information, please visit:, follow @AirCanada on Twitter and join Air Canada on Facebook

SOURCE Air Canada

April 17, 2020
Canada's COVID-19 Data Collection

Unprecedented is a word that’s over-used these days; but it is indeed the best phrase to describe the devastating effects COVID-19 has had, and will continue to have on our business events industry. As fellow leaders in Canada’s business events sector, we are keenly aware of the difficult challenges we are all facing in our businesses and in our community and can only say how much we appreciate all you are doing to keep people employed and help drive our economy; it has always mattered—now more than ever.

With the current circumstances in front of us, the organizations listed below are being asked by Federal and Provincial governments to provide data on the economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on tourism, hospitality, and the business events industry across Canada. Events that are now postponed or cancelled represent lost business, lost opportunity, lost jobs, taxes and other activities that stimulate economic development. Understanding their economic impact is critical as we work with others to support the sector during this time of crisis. 

A few weeks ago, Destination Canada Business Events announced it is collecting data and intelligence from the entire Canadian business events community on the economic impact COVID-19. We are working together to leverage their data collection system to create a national situational analysis of the economic impact COVID-19 has had on our industry.

We are reaching out to you today to request you participate in this critical research initiative by supplying the details of postponed or cancelled events and their impact to your business. No matter where your business falls within the business events supply chain (event organizer, hotel, convention centre, DMC, A/V, decor, food & beverage venue, meeting venue, transportation, etc.) it is important that you contribute to this national study. 

By contributing your data we will be better able to understand the economic impact of COVID-19 to the entire Canadian business events community. In return for your input, we will share the national situational analysis with you weekly to help inform your own recovery plans. 

Help us capture the whole picture:

Submit your weekly report from your CRM (Simpleview, IDSS, Excel), providing a list of postponed or cancelled events, including the following information (agreed-upon industry definitions of postponed or cancelled events can be found here):

  • name of event
  • organization name and headquarter location
  • origin of delegates (Provincial, Canada, US, or International)
  • # of attendees
  • event dates
  • segment of your event (association conference, corporate meeting, incentive trip, trade show/exhibition )
  • economic impact (if known or in CRM)

We kindly ask you to please submit your report by noon Friday, and each week thereafter, until notified otherwise, so that we can capture the most robust data set possible. 

There are two ways to confidentially contribute your data, please choose a method that works best for you:

By confidential email direct to the Conference Board of Canada
By confidential email direct with Destination Canada Business Events

If you have any questions at all, please contact Angela Trunzo, Market Intelligence Analyst, Business Events at Destination Canada at or 204-914-8692.

We need to tell this story now

We need to share this story regularly. We need your help to do so. We hope we can count on you. We thank you in advance for doing your part to help us best understand our national outlook; it’s the first important step on our road to eventual recovery. We are unified for Canada.

Canada. For Glowing Hearts

April 17, 2020

A big warm hello to everyone! We hope you are well. We are all well - self isolating with our families - and alternating between bored, overstimulated and up to no good. (best not to talk about that last bit...)

The whole team is getting ready for our big "Earth Day for Event People" session next week with CanSPEP on April 22nd, 2020 at 11:30 EDT.

We will be joined by our friends, Miranda Ji of Tourism Victoria, Robert Thompson of AV Canada and Rebecca Bartlett Jones of Green Key Global/Hotel Association of Canada - as well as planners Malak Sidky of Healthcare Event Planning, Caroline Aston of Aston Events and of course, our very own Candice Tulsieram of TSEF and 360 Events.

We have some special guests lined up....Cameron Tulloch and Melissa DesLauriers will be hosting our game show portion, "Our Climate is In Jeopardy!"

We have lots of fun stuff lined up for you next Wednesday...and to get us in the mood, we will be hosting some fun challenges to get us primed. So please head over to any of our social media (links below) and join the fun.

Want to join us for the Earth Day for Event People zoom party with CanSPEP? Register here! It's free and will be a super fun way to connect with all of you again!

With thanks for all your past support - and we can't wait until we can see you in person again.

Hope to see you on the 22nd of April at 11:30 a.m. EDT! Don't forget to register at!

Candice, Emily, Maureen & Natalie

April 16, 2020
Visit Monaco Keeps in Touch with a Simple Message

In times of fear and uncertainty, the Monaco Tourist & Convention Authority would like event planners around the world to know that the Principality misses them more than ever, by sending a simple message: “Take care of yourself, we miss you!”

Monaco—With more than 3 billion people around the world under lockdown, airlines grounded, and many airports closed, global tourism has come to a halt. Like the rest of the world, the Principality of Monaco has been heavily affected by these recent developments.

During this hiatus for the MICE industry, the Monaco Government Tourist & Convention Authority is staying in touch with meeting and event planners — those who have been loyal to the Principality for many years and the ones that are planning to visit once the crisis is over.

The Monaco Convention Bureau, whose partners have already started to offer flexible cancellation policies to their clients, has launched a new communication campaign to let planners know just how much they are missed in Monaco.

The Principality is missing everything its visitors bring: from those treasured moments of friendship and fun, to the opinions and customs they share, the languages they speak, and of course the “wow” factor experienced by everyone who comes to Monaco. All of the things that, together, make it the vibrant and dynamic destination that it is.

The message is simple: “MISS YOU” — which is supported by friendly messages and pictures, to remind the world of those precious times that everyone looks forward to sharing again. They show teams coming together and spending unforgettable moments in Monaco — a life that will hopefully be back to normal very soon. 

“More than ever, supporting our industry is vital,” said Head of the Monaco Convention Bureau Christine Barrabino. “We are fully mobilized to assist you and prepare the post-COVID-19 recovery. Stay strong. We miss you.”

The campaign will be promoted by the Principality of Monaco’s ten representative offices in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania, and will be relayed on social media, travel industry websites and magazines.

View the “MISS YOU” campaign video here.

View the “MISS YOU” campaign visuals here.

The Monaco Convention Bureau promotes the Principality of Monaco to all organizers of business groups, meetings and incentive programs. It facilitates the organization of professional events thanks to its expertise and knowledge of the Monegasque stakeholders. It centralizes requests, coordinates and facilitates exchanges between various institutions. In the name of the Princely Government, it provides neutral and free information as well as personalized support to every potential organizer of an event in Monaco.

Twitter: @MonacoCVB
LinkedIn: Monaco Convention Bureau
Monaco 360 virtual tour:

Media Contact:
Camille Cussac
PR & Communications Manager
Monaco Government Tourist Office
565 Fifth Avenue, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10017