Bushfires and coronavirus: Australian MICE conference responds

The Melbourne-based show for APAC event planners, AIME, responds to the coronavirus outbreak and Australian bushfires.

Wildfires at Bunyip Ridge, about 100km east of Melbourne
Wildfires at Bunyip Ridge, about 100km east of Melbourne

Officials from the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) have confirmed the industry showcase will go ahead with more than 2,500 industry professionals attending.
 
That includes 330 exhibitors from all over the Asia Pacific and wider world, with 13 educational development programmes taking place.

But the 2020 event is facing unprecedented challenges following extended bushfires across Australia and the outbreak of the coronavirus in mainland China, which has spread to some Asian cities, Australia, the US and the UK.

Yesterday the outbreak was described by a risk intelligence company as “catastrophic” while a hospital confirmed it had taken over a conference centre in Milton Keynes UK as returning passengers from Wuhan were placed into quarantine.

Now a senior health official has told The Guardian that the coronavirus 'could infect 60% of global population if unchecked' amid fears the outbreak could escalate further.

But the CEO of Talk2 Media & Events said the event in Melbourne from 17-19 February would meet the challenge that has have affected the business events industry.

Matt Pearce, CEO of Talk2 Media & Events speaking on behalf of the event, said: “When working in any event you’ll always have to consider the ‘what if’ – whether it’s meeting guest expectations or being challenged by a global crisis.

“For AIME in particular, the travel restrictions imposed by the Australian Federal Government in response to the coronavirus for travellers arriving from mainland Chinai have impacted only a small percentage of the show's total buyer and exhibitors at AIME.

“Ultimately, we are the first large-scale event of the year and we know people are keen to get on with things for their businesses. This is even more true this year – and we are looking forward to seeing positive business connections come to life.”
 
The show floor will host over 100 regional Australian exhibitors, with backing from Tourism Australia, the Victorian State Government and community in a bid to offset some of the impacts of bushfires and bring business into the affected areas.

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