Coronavirus: RCB assesses recovery strategies for conferences

Delegates follow a presentation on Financing for Gender Equality in the HIV/AIDS Response during the 20th edition of the ICASA conference in Kigali in December 2019. Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) is evaluating possible recovery strategies for the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events industry which has been hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak / Photo: File.

Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) is evaluating possible recovery strategies for the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events industry, which has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

RCB said that, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has halted meetings and global travel, they were engaging sector stakeholders to mitigate economic impact.

 

In a televised interview with Rwanda Broadcasting Authority, Nelly Mukazayire, the bureau’s chief executive, said that while meetings and conferences scheduled for March and April had been postponed, they were engaging events organisers and hotels on alternative dates.

 

She said that that they were still monitoring the trends of the virus spread and its impact on the health and economies as they engage stakeholders on recovery strategies.

 

“Most of the meetings have been postponed, not cancelled, we look forward to working with organisers and concerned partners to find appropriate time as we watch how the crisis develops,” she said.

So far, she said, a number of event organisers were looking at alternative dates with most looking at hosting events in towards the end of the second quarter, or in the third quarter.

Some events could be moved to the first quarter of next year.

“The plans include keeping the relationship with our clients, events organisers and stakeholders to find appropriate time for meetings. We are working with hotels to mitigate the impact and make sure that meetings continue to come to Rwanda,” Mukazayire noted.

The chief executive said that about 20 conferences initially scheduled for March and April have since been postponed and were expected to rake in about $8 million.

Preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), due in Kigali in June, will however proceed despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak as the Government and secretariat monitor the situation.

Mukazayire says they will rely on flexibility of the industry to bounce back on the end of the outbreak.

“For the mice sector, the beauty of it is that we can reschedule, the sector is affected but catch up plans can be made and implemented and generate income,” she said.

Rwanda targets 147 events in 2020 in order to generate revenues of about $88 million.

cmwai@newtimesrwanda.com

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