On Wednesday, the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) postponed the annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) celebration planned for April 14 due to limitations on gatherings in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The international day of advocacy, awareness and celebration of the meetings and events industry will instead be staged as an attempt to break the world record for largest virtual event ever held.

In 2019, GMID brought together meetings industry advocates from across six continents and more than 50 countries for 275 events that took the form of rallies, press conferences, panel discussions, educational events and award presentations.

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“In 2020, we were on track to exceed those numbers and generate record participation online,” according to the official announcement, which continued, “We are living in a world of great uncertainty, and while we look forward to the moment when everyone who wants to participate in GMID can do so safely and confidently, we are not there yet.

“When the day comes to reunite as an industry, we are confident that the world will exhibit a renewed appreciation for human connectivity and the power face-to-face meetings bring to people, businesses and communities.”

A note directed to MMBC ambassadors concluded: “As a coalition, we are still here to help and are leading the industry’s effort to promote fact-based decision-making and awareness of the industry’s commitment to serving the public.”

A Virtual Alternative

The hashtag #GMIDGoesVirtual immediately appeared in the #EventProfs Twitter feed, calling for celebrating GMID 2020 by breaking the world record for largest online meeting.

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With it came a warning: “We are at risk of losing our annual opportunity to do what we do best—come together as a community.”

This was followed by a call to action: “This year, GMID needs to be about resiliency, survival, tenacity and perseverance.”