Amid cancellations and uncertainty, event agencies in India gear up to tackle the coronavirus threat
Event industry leaders speak about the impact of this health scare and how they are getting set to face the challenge.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared the outbreak of coronavirus a global public health emergency, underscoring the potential severity of the virus and the threat it poses to the global community.
The events and experiential industry has been majorly affected after some of the big ticket events were cancelled globally resulting in huge loss for the organisers.
Since some coronavirus cases have also been detected in India there is rising concern about its impact on the events industry. Due to the coronavirus spread many health monitoring bodies in India and abroad have already issued notices in public interest to avoid places of huge gatherings.
We spoke to some of the event industry leaders to know about the impact that this health scare has caused for the industry and how they are gearing up to face the challenge.
According to KJS Gurna, Director, Bellset Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., "The first toll will be on public gathering and for the events that's what we need. So there will be restrictions from the government side or the public may take precautions on their own and avoid public places. This will have a bad impact on the Live Events industry."
“The news of major conferences getting cancelled are flowing in every day. The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup has been postponed, the Olympics may be postponed, and a lot of events are getting pushed to later dates. So right now it's like ‘wait and watch’ for everyone. The next 15 to 20 days will be critical, we need to see how big a threat it becomes for India and our critical trade partners like China, South Korea, Japan etc. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope and pray it gets controlled quickly,” added Gurna.
Speaking about some of the measures that event agencies are undertaking to contain this imminent threat Alim Morani, Division Head, Dome Occasions said, “On a general level and on an event specific level, we are working on putting forth a set of guidelines to become a common practice in all the events we do from here on. The guidelines would be different for different sets of people involved in putting an event together. For example, there would be strict rules for all labor working on an event in the production department- rules pertaining to sanitation of the hands at regular intervals. All fabrics and cloths would need to be sprayed with disinfectant, including draping, sofas, seat covers, etc. There would be a different set of guidelines for the catering team as well to ensure the highest level of hygiene is maintained. While details are still being worked on, this is a gist of what we can do.”
Events in the US, China and other parts of Asia have already been affected and many organizers have chosen to either postpone or outright cancel their events in the wake of the outbreak.
Sharing details about some of the event cancellations and postponements, Rajesh Varma, Founder-Director, CRI Events Pvt. Ltd. said, “A lot of events that we were doing like a big booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona have got cancelled. An exhibition by the Indian Polyurethane Association which was scheduled in April has got pushed to September, travel advisories from various corporates have put a halt to about 3-5 events of ours and it is only going to get worse as we move along. The current economic conditions coupled with coronavirus will take a deep toll on our business. Impact will be felt for months.”
“The coronavirus has definitely caused a threat. There are cancellations happening especially in the MICE business where travel is involved and this is a big blow to the business. We are trying to be cautious and keeping our cost low to tide through this entire crisis. Also people need to know that coronavirus can be cured and there is no reason to panic. The more we keep our cool, the more we will be able to think right and the more we will be able to do justice to our businesses,” stated Reema Sanghvi, Founder and MD, Maximus MICE and Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
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