Last week we saw a resumption of economic activities in China, and hoped our speakers’ business would be up to steam before the summer, including a few months for event organizers to get their act together. But recent developments show that the coronavirus crisis might only be starting in the rest of the world, as European countries and the US have started to lockdown their economic activities to stop the spread of the virus. Together with gloomy assessments of the lackluster way those countries deal with the crisis, our first analysis might have been too optimistic.
Even in countries that have not been hit by a major crisis, the expectation is that current limitations on travel and meetings will last for at least three months, and longer if those countries cannot contain the crisis in the weeks to come. Also the availability of flights – key for organizing international events – will remain very limited until the summer. Holidays have been cancelled for most of the Europeans until this summer, and that is a major negative indicator in a continent where holidays traditionally have been more important than going to work.
At the China Speakers Bureau, we will keep our activities at a backburner. When the crisis is over, there will be much need for China experts who can help to set straight the thought-process on the fallout of this crisis. Does it make sense to adjust logistical chains from its current China-dominance? How to deal with the next crisis? After a messy start, China has been able to manage a major health crisis, better than most other countries in the world. How does that work, and it is able to manage the impacts on its economy in a similar way. Do expect we will pick up stories to illustrate those capabilities among our speakers, although we do not expect a brisk business until the crisis really subdues.