For months, our country was in a constant state of anxiety as we waited to see if we would go to war. Now, we're anxious about when things will settle down and people can get back to traveling internationally. In the midst of all this, there's the economy and the threat of terrorism at home. And the growing SARS scare.
For our readers, this translates into reluctant travelers, postponed programs, and last-minute decisions — like never before. While, as of mid-April, some companies, such as Canon USA, have completely banned corporate travel (employees can only do so with approval from the president), others, such as The Chubb Group of Insurance Cos., are encouraging employees to use audioconferencing, webconferencing, videoconferencing, and other meeting alternatives as substitutes for international travel. In most companies, it's case by case, manager by manager.
In our own industry, meetings have gone on as planned. The long-awaited IMEX exhibition took place in Frankfurt April 8 to 10 with more than 5,600 visitors attending. The exhibitors we spoke with were optimistic about the industry's future, especially 2004. EIBTM is still on as scheduled for May 20 to 22. Meeting Professionals International also went on with its European conference, though it kept its U.S.-based staffers at home.
To help you with the challenges you face right now, see the package of articles starting on page 11. We have also put together an extensive Web site at www.meetingsnet.com, where you'll find dozens of articles and links on everything from security to issues. It just might be the most comprehensive and useful resource out there right now for meeting planners.
We're here to help.
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