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Associations World Congress postponed to late 2020

This year’s Association World Congress, in Portugal, has become the latest meeting to be scuppered by COVID-19 after local authorities decided the event presented a danger to public health.

It was due to take place next month (April) at the Estoril Congress Centre, in Cascais, but organisers the Association of Association Executives (AAE) were forced to postpone until December 7-9th.

Around 400 delegates and exhibitors were expected at the event, which was initially classed as ‘low-risk’. But the rapid spread of  coronavirus throughout Europe and Portugal changed minds.

It is understood delegates will be able to transfer registration and hotel fees to the new dates, although a more detailed announcement will be made on this later this week.

AAE executive director Damian Hutt said: “It was important for us that we waited until this thing was most likely to be over, which is why we chose December. We didn’t want to postpone until July, August or September, when there would still be an awful lot of uncertainty. To my mind that would have been crazy.”

He added: “We have had excellent support from our sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers who have all welcomed the decision, as they are all having to make decisions themselves and this puts an end to any uncertain they might have had about the event.”

The announcement follows meetings industry associations AIPC, ICCA and UFI decision to launch the, ‘Our events are open for business’ campaign to ‘bring the industry together to prevent more postponements and cancellations’.

“Exhibitions and events are essential to millions of businesses around the world. They exist to provide platforms for people and industries to meet, to trade, and to collaborate. Small and medium businesses in all industries, in particular, depend on exhibitions. And, like all types of events, they support the economy worldwide“, says Mary Larkin, UFI president.