In a remarkable candid comment, director Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, admitted on Saturday the fairly low efficiency of one of the larger Chinese vaccines Sinovac Biotech, even lower than 50%, according to Reuters. Even before that, leading expert Zhang Wenhong estimated China could only open up to international travel by the Spring of 2022.
When US President Donald Trump lost last year the presidential elections from his contestant Joe Biden, some people expected the trade war between China and the US would end. At the China Speakers Bureau, we had set up a category of expert speakers on the trade war. For a short moment, we contemplated retiring that section but decided to wait and see how Joe Biden would behave.
For the international speakers’ business, international travel is key. And while some countries are at last moving forward in their vaccine programs, China expects to have covered a substantial part of its population only in the Spring of 2022, says Zhang Wenhong, one of the countries leading experts. Resuming international travel could only restart after that, writes the Business Travel this week.
Farmaceutical firms Moderna and Pfizer have applied in December 2020 for permission from the medical authorities to distribute their corona vaccines in both Europe and the US, and the UK has already moved for first distribution in December. That is the first real good news since the world – and our industry – came to a standstill in early 2020. The pain is not yet over, but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.
What is happening to the trade shows? The bigger events are not yet sure about their future. While even some of the most established trade show organizers start to file for bankruptcy, some see a future ahead in fully or partly virtual events, reports the Global Trade Magazine. For smaller events recovery might a slightly easier, the massive gatherings might have a hard time to recover any time soon from the coronavirus crisis, says the magazine.
The Planner Confidence Index has been surveying event organizers since March to measure the impact of the corona crisis on the industry. Key finding: confidence in a fast resumption of face to face (F2F) events has dropped dramatically. In March 8 percent of the participants in the survey expected meetings would only be possible in 2021, in June the percentage has risen to 50%.
Two months ago we still hoped the event industry would recover from the Covid-19 crisis in a similar way as SARS in 2002/3. But history seldom repeats itself and also in this case it looks we have been too optimistic. While much of Europe is slowly opening up, and other parts of the world remain in crisis mode, the traditional events as we knew them might not return any time soon. Whether we will go through a second wave of the corona crisis is still an open question: major disruption is here to stay.
That is bad news for those event companies who relied on physical conferences including massive flights, hotel bookings, and entertainment for their business model. Much of our business disappeared initially, leaving our speakers often empty-handed. Now a miraculous revival of the event industry might not come fast, at the CSB we can focus on our core business: connecting established China experts to companies and organizations eager to pick their brains, now in online seminars.
The coronavirus or Covid-19 has kept the world in its grip since the beginning of 2020, first as a China problem, but then fast expanding to the rest of the world.
At the China Speakers Bureau, we organize China experts for a global audience, and our speakers have started to speak out on the impacts of that crisis, countries dealt with the crisis, and how China will deal with the major economic fallout of this global disruption.
Are you interested in discussing more options of speakers to deal with the corona crisis? Do get in touch.
At the China Speakers Bureau, we keep a close eye on event organizers and how they prepare for the coming year, in the post-coronavirus period. We see two broad movements: definitely, a part of the gatherings is turning to virtual events, like for example the Felixstowe Book Festival.
More troublesome is the black swan scenario taken this week by Stage Entertainment, organizers in Europe of larger musicals like Tina, Anastasia, and Lazarus to delay their productions till March 2021. For most annual events, like the Olympic Games, a one-year delay might sound obvious, but stalling ongoing shows and events sounds more troublesome.
The coronavirus has not only stalled most global events, international flights, and the hospitality business. Now, also insurance firms start to increase premiums or outright refuse to insure the consequences of eventualities caused by the coronavirus.
“The market has been “traumatised” by the prospect of unintended coverage for business interruption related to coronavirus,” says an insurance expert.
Education, museums, tourist destinations, company meetings, Friday afternoon drinks, TV shows: all seem busy finding online variations now the coronavirus is disrupting their traditional business models. The picture shows a Dutch quiz program where hundreds of candidates call in on a live connection and get pulled into the program by a smart way of moderation.
The question is whether events with larger audiences and speakers can get the same done. Technically, there would not be a problem: remote interaction is possible, maybe not with a 1000+ audience, but certainly with hundreds of participants.