Alliance members share advice on coping with COVID-19
APRIL 15, 2020

Kitty WongKitty Wong, President, K & A International Co., Ltd.
Past President, World PCO Alliance:

“During this trying time, vigilance is imperative: be sensible and do your own risk assessment. Look after yourselves, your staff, and your clients. Work closely with your local community and industry to mitigate losses and damages. The aftermath and recovery will rely heavily on our collaboration with partners and stakeholders. Some governments already have plans for economic recovery, and I am confident the governments and private sector will work hand-in-hand going forward.”


Andre VitorAndré Vietor, Managing Director, Bco Congresos
Treasurer, World PCO Alliance:

“These are extremely challenging times and when coping with increasing uncertainty it is even more difficult to provide advice to clients who have to take tough decisions. However, we are helping them make the best possible decision and to minimize the overall damage. Although we’re experiencing an increase in use of online and virtual platforms these days, I believe the need to gather and meet in person will be even higher and more important once the pandemic is under control and the world is "safe" again. Nevertheless, people who were once reluctant to go virtual now not only see the benefits of this technology, but they are changing their attitude by embracing it in a wider sense. We will see the world differently and the one lesson we already learned is that we need each other to overcome challenging situations. I can see more collaboration unfolding than ever before. We’re also witnessing people living up the saying: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’”


Kaoru ShibutaKaoru Shibuta, Executive Managing Director, Congrès Inc.
Secretary-General, World PCO Alliance:

“Although this grave situation is on a scale much larger than in the past when we faced SARS in Asia in 2003 and Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011, based on our experiences in risk management and flexibly conquering obstacles to lead meetings to success in emergency situations, Congrès Inc. is committed to continuing to closely coordinate with our valued clients and associates. 
Our President, Noriko Takeuchi also serves as Vice President of the Japan Convention Management Association (JCMA), representing all stakeholders in the meetings/events industry in Japan. JCMA has officially submitted petitions to the Japan Tourism Agency and the Prime Minister’s Office, Government of Japan, calling for support measures in view of the major impact our industry, which contributes greatly to the economy, is facing, including the following: refund of venue cancellation charges, announcement of specific definitions/conditions under which meetings/events could be convened, support for procurement of critical supplies for ensuring the safety and peace of mind for all meeting participants going forward, and request for expansion of the scheme to partially compensate loss of income due to COVID-19 to meetings/events-related small businesses. (In fact, several types of businesses have now been added to the scheme.)
Thanks to today’s technology, we are together with all of you around the globe even if not in person, and hold the promise that a bright, rejuvenated meetings industry will be realized in the not too distant future. Let’s continue to connect and share, as well as be positive and innovative!”