Virtual meetings to increase following Trump travel ban, says MPI

Virtual meetings to increase following Trump travel ban, says MPI

According to Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) Summer 2017 Meetings Outlook report, the impact of US President Donald Trump’s plan to ban travellers from six Muslim-majority countries could see more events relocate to both Canada and Europe, as well as seeing an increased shift from live events to virtual and hybrid meetings.

Bill Voegeli from MPI’s Georgia Chapter in the US stated in the report that the heightened restrictions on delegates entering America is a concern to event planners around the world. “There are a number of events scheduled to occur in the U.S. that have moved to Canada out of concern that some of the attendees may not be allowed into the U.S,” said Voegeli. “If their immigration status isn’t crystal clear, there is a concern you could leave the country and not be allowed back in.”

MPI also predicts that the travel ban will see a rise in events that don’t require physical travel, such as virtual meetings. The report states that it expects to see an increase of 2.4% in attendance for these types of events.

Director of Purple Dog Solutions Chris Clarke also anticipates this trend, stating that the events industry will have to come up with imaginitive solutions to the travel ban.

Clarke told C&IT: “The US is of course a relevant and very important country, therefore, events will still happen, however I’d have thought that technology will now be employed to make those unable – or unwilling – to travel, still feel included.  Live video relay or interactive virtual meetings will probably become more prevalent going forward.”

On a brighter note, the report also revealed that the global meetings industry as a whole is performing well with increases predicted for employment and delegate attendance. A total of 56% of respondents anticipate favourable business conditions, while 55% expect to see positive growth in budgets.