Security occupying the concerns of delegates

Event planners have been telling MIX about prospects and concerns for 2015, which we’ll be highlighting in our forthcoming December-January print issue and here online.

Discussions and debate about social media and digital apps for meetings and events will no doubt gather momentum in 2015, but a more deeper human concern is re-emerging.

Safety and stability is again to the fore with 2014 seeing events in Bangkok – and more recently Hong Kong – subject to hasty rearrangement to other cities or even postponed.

MIX has reported on Bangkok’s resurgence and the role venues are playing in assuring event planners about security following street protests and a subsequent (peaceful) military coup.

Hong Kong has seen far milder protests and street occupations with only the occasional flare-up. But there have been reports of one international tech company detouring a meeting of senior executives to Shanghai in recent weeks, and a number of international hotels are practically around the corner from protester encampments. Shanghai, however, will not be too smug about winning groups at Hong Kong’s expense. Memories of Morgan Stanley switching an annual event to New York after an avian flu scare in May 2013 are still fresh in the memory for Shanghai’s business events community.

In Hong Kong, it’s no easy task for venue managers to assure visiting delegates while at the same time advising them not to venture near protest sites where clashes can erupt at any time. One Kowloon hotel is suggesting visitors take a northerly route to the New Territories to see Hong Kong’s more sedate rural side.

So at least there are ideas on how the industry can get around such situations. This makes it all the more easier when Hong Kong’s destination marketers gather to formulate a strategy as the city looks to 2015 and hopefully a peaceful resolution.

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