The Joint Meetings Industry Council recently released a statement regarding the reaction of Meetings Industry leaders to recent terrorism incidents and the position the industry is encouraging in terms of responding to their potential effects on ongoing event activities.
Along with deploring such acts as contrary to fundamental industry objectives of enhancing global knowledge, exchange and understanding, the statement calls for perspective, vigilance and resolve as means of perpetuating industry values and demonstrating solidarity through supporting destinations that have been impacted.
“It is important for our industry to take a clear position on this issue, as there are clear responsibilities to deal with here”, said JMIC President Joachim Koenig. “The attacks we have seen are not limited to the immediate targets; it is our social values, and the way we want to live our lives that are under threat, which makes them attacks on all of us. We are all aware that ongoing terror threats will impact our industry in many ways, and this adds new responsibilities; however, freedom is not an automatic privilege but a task we must all contribute to“.
The statement is as follows;
As an industry we deplore the terrorist-inspired incidents that have taken place in many parts of the world and which are designed to intimidate both residents and travelers. At the same time, we recognize the potential implications of such acts on not only the long-term success of our own sector but of the values we promote in terms of global exchange, cooperation and advancement.
As a result, we encourage all members of the Meetings Industry to adopt and reflect in their own decisions and actions the following three measures;
- While certain destinations have received a lot of attention in this regard, the reality is that anywhere in the world may be targeted in future. This means that we should not unfairly discriminate against any individual destination unless there are immediate and specific reasons for concern, recognizing that this has important implications for an industry that often makes long-term decisions.
- The impacts of global terrorist-inspired events, while frightening in their randomness and cruelty, represent a very small proportion of travel-related challenges or even safety in one’s own place of residence. We therefore encourage that these events be put into perspective relative to the often-sensational coverage they typically receive from the news media, and will reflect this in our own communications.
- We acknowledge our collective responsibility for the safety and security of delegates participating in the kinds of events this sector represents and hosts. We also are proud of the considerable measures that have been adopted by organizers, venues and service providers in this regard and commit to even greater cooperation, not only amongst various industry organizations but with related organizations and institutions in the communities where we work and that we visit.
- At the same time, we would actively discourage overreaction to such acts by governments and their security agencies in ways that would adversely and unduly impact the travel experience and / or unnecessarily restrict access by event participants to event locations.
- The Meetings Industry is proud of the role we play in encouraging and supporting global exchange and understanding. At the same time, we have been at the forefront of both global travel stability and recovery, leading the return to normal travel patterns following disruptions.
- As a result, we believe that to react out of fear is to help the perpetrators to realize their goals for such terrorist acts, and to deny the importance of the role we play in supporting our own industry objectives. We will therefore strive to maintain event timing, participation and rotation in the face of what is clearly an effort to disrupt these and all other beneficial travel activities.
“Through issuing this statement, as endorsed at our most recent Council meeting, we are calling on all members of the industry to adopt the measures that are identified here in their responses to both current and any potential future impacts,” said Koenig. “We will continue to share information, experiences and strategies in order to fulfill our responsibilities while maintaining the values and activities this industry stands for.”