Terrorism a Major Concern for Planners

The meetings industry is experiencing cautious optimism and growth, although terrorism has become a significant concern, according to a new survey.

Some 68 percent of planners and other meetings professionals predict favorable business conditions in 2016, according to survey results in the winter 2016 edition of Meetings Outlook, a quarterly report published by Meeting Professionals International.

However, 44 percent anticipate making changes in how meetings are run due to the ongoing threat of terrorism, and 28 percent already have done so. The safety and security concerns are the strongest in the history of the survey and were likely heightened by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, both of which involved meeting venues.

For MPI chapters, one challenge is to take a proactive approach without unnecessarily frightening members and others. The survey shows that meetings industry professionals are boosting security in several ways, including:

Provide more employee training: 19 percent
Do more destination research and communications regarding risk: 15 percent
Add more security staff: 15 percent
Develop more security plans: 14 percent
Update procedures and contingency plans: 9 percent
Provide more attendee screening: 5 percent
Work with local law enforcement: 5 percent

Also, 48 percent of respondents expect the costs of meetings to increase because of the need for more security. Supplier costs are already increasing, and some professionals reported that meetings were being cancelled due to terrorist threats, resulting in costs to suppliers and planners.

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