Italy: facing a colossal task of convincing MICE to return. Credit: Getty/alexisassa
ITALY - Italy's MICE industry is taking a stand and is responding to the negative media reports due to COVID-19. SITE's global president 2018, Ms Annamaria Ruffini, submitted a statement to MPI International which was signed by other leading association representatives.
She said: "As representatives of the International Associations ADMEI, MPI and SITE (Italian chapters), we have felt the need to coordinate our efforts in a bid to safeguard the Italian MICE Industry, especially with regard to the misleading and alarmist information given through the media in covering the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Italy."
In her statement, she appealed to the international MICE community to support Italy and counter the negative impact this situation has engendered, especially because the geographical areas affected by the virus outbreaks in Italy are well defined and do not include main Italy's tourism and the meeting and incentive venues.
Several important trade shows have been postponed, including the Milan Furniture Fair, which was scheduled for the end of April but will now take place in June. Parma's Mercanteinfiera event, dedicated to antiques, modern antiques and vintage collectibles, has been postponed until June. The International Journalism Festival, set to be held in Perugia, Umbria, in April, has been cancelled. The next festival will take place in Perugia from 14 to 18 April 2021.
"This is an influenza virus of short-lasting nature. There is general agreement within the scientific community that things should improve everywhere in spring. The Italian healthcare system is ranked among the best in the world and medical care is free for the whole population.
"We urge you not to cancel but to only postpone the events you have planned for March and April 2020 and to reschedule them for later in the year. This will help avoid further impact on the local economy already severely penalised," she said.
Among those that signed Ms Ruffin's message to MPI International were SITE Italy's president, Ms Chantal Fiorelli; MPI Italy's president, Mr Enrico Jesu; and ADMEI president elect, Mr Lorenzo Pignatti.
MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals including more than 18,000 members in more than 90 chapters and clubs in 19 countries.