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Cancellations Land Heavy Blow on Greek Hospitality Industry in 2020

Empty convention halls are the norm this year all across the world. Photo: pxfuel
The year 2020 will go down in history for changing the cherished plans of many people who were forced to stay near home rather than striking out for parts unknown this summer. But it has also almost completely ruined the balance sheets of many establishments in the hospitality industry, forcing many of them to absorb an unprecedented blow to their income.
It has been reported that the average percent of cancellations within Greece alone is more than 95% in 2020, according to the first systemic research of the phenomenon, by the Hellenic Association of Professional Congress Organizers, the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau.
The firms surveyed the results from the first two weeks of July from a total of 122 different companies in the convention sector. The researchers found that there was an average of a 76% decrease in turnover for all conferences and events in the country. Hotels which were typically the hosts for such events saw a decrease of 69%.
These numbers have been noted worldwide in the hospitality industry, especially in those facilities which cater to large conventions.
The firm Workday, based in Pleasanton, California, which provides software to businesses, moved its March 2-4, 2020 event online, resulting in a loss of more than 3,000 attendees who had been scheduled to take part in the convention.
The media behemoth Facebook also canceled its largest annual event, which had been scheduled for early May in San Jose, California also as the result coronavirus fears. The company’s “F8” conference usually attracts more than 5,000 software developers and business entrepreneurs.
Because of the worldwide travel restrictions, many events which may have otherwise taken place can simply not be held this year because the participants are forced to stay at home.
But in addition, some companies have taken it upon themselves to also ban their employees from traveling. Amazon, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble, Cargill Inc., and L’Oreal SA are just some of the large multinational firms which have themselves banned any travel for their employees as an extra precaution to help keep them safe from the coronavirus.
According to experts, many organizations do not take out insurance against event cancellations, opening themselves up to the terrible risks that this year has borne out.
Barbara Dunn, an attorney with the firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Chicago, who specializes in the meetings industry, noted in a recent article that not only would such a policy protect host organization from losses incurred from outright cancellations, it would also “provide protection for losses sustained from having reduced attendance at a meeting.”
In her story for the National Law Review, Dunn states, however, that “often in event cancellation insurance policies, infectious or communicable diseases are excluded from coverage. If meeting professionals want to have coverage for infectious or communicable diseases, they should ask the carrier for an endorsement to cover such items.”

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