news
online 15–26 March 2021
AIME announces Delegate Connect
as partner to power events online platform.
taking the lead
Taiwan MICE
Globally Recognized, Receives Stella Awards.
free and open to all
More Than 3,200 Event and Hospitality Professionals
Already Registered for Cvent Connect Europe Virtual on 10-11 November.
EUR 300 million
Austria Center Vienna
welcomes financial support package for organisers.
business Intelligence
New board of Energy Cities
ready to tackle the opportunities of the Green Deal and Covid recovery.
business intelligence
Zurich
– Sustanability as a strategy.
hotel news
Park Inn by Radisson
Vilnius Airport Hotel & Business Centre opens its doors.
for international visitors
Ras Al Khaimah
becomes first city in the world to offer free Covid-19 tests to international visitors.
Associations need to be proactive
Gregg Talley of Talley Management Group
Named One of the Top 25 Influencers by Northstar Meetings Group.
facts:
Research Points to Low Risk
Covid-19 Transmission Inflight.
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Park Inn by Radisson Vilnius Airport Hotel & Business Centre opens its doors

Radisson Hotel Group confirms its commitment to the Baltic market with the opening of a Park Inn by Radisson hotel at Vilnius Airport. With 120 guest rooms, four meeting rooms totaling 400 sq. m., the Italian style Bocca Buona restaurant and bar, a modern gym and parking, the new upper-midscale hotel offers guests the best and most convenient start to their trips.

Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Area Senior Vice President, Northern & Western Europe for Radisson Hotel Group, said, “We are delighted to open the most convenient hotel at Vilnius Airport. In these challenging times for the travel industry, we believe in offering guests the best possible experience at an affordable price. With the addition of this hotel to our Baltics portfolio, we are strengthening our position as the leading international hotel group in the Baltics, and now offer our guests five different hotels and almost 1,000 rooms in Lithuania”.

Marius Jakulis Jason, an investor in the Airport Hotels Fund, said, “Our new 4-star hotel and business center in collaboration with Radisson Hotel Group is ideally located by Vilnius Airport and the ring road around Vilnius, which is a rapidly developing business area.”

The hotel’s contemporary guest rooms were designed featuring a modern, neutral palette of grey and cream colors, and each room is decorated with photographs of Lithuania taken by the well-known photographer Marius Jovaiša. The hotel design was created by Gintė Pamerneckienė according to the latest Radisson Hotel Group design standards. The hotel’s Italian restaurant, Bocca Buona, features a live pizza cooking station which celebrates the Italian way of living and creates a warm and lively ambience.

The new Park Inn by Radisson hotel can safely accommodate guests and groups up to 300 people in its business centre. The largest meeting room accommodates up to 150 people. The hotel uses the latest protocols as outlined in the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol to ensure the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene have been implemented.

In May, Radisson Hotel Group launched the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, a program of in-depth cleanliness and disinfection procedures, in partnership with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

These new guidelines include hand sanitizing stations at all entrances, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and protective screens, enhanced and recorded cleaning and disinfection frequency, social distancing in all areas of its hotels, including in the Meeting & Event facilities, training in local, Centers for Disease Control, or World Health Organization recommendations and health guidelines, reiteration of food safety standards and comprehensive staff training.

 

Photo: Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Area Senior Vice President, Northern & Western Europe for Radisson Hotel Group.

 

Ras Al Khaimah becomes first city in the world to offer free Covid-19 tests to international visitors

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and RAK Hospital announced a partnership to provide free PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) testing to international visitors staying in and departing from Ras Al Khaimah until 31 December, 2020, according to Hotelier Middle East.

Subsidised by RAKTDA, the free test can be taken at either RAK Hospital or at the RAK Medical Centre within Al Hamra Mall.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce the complementary test for international visitors, as this effort will put in place an added element of safety - both for the guests staying within our properties, as well as our hospitality providers and their staff. As travel corridors begin to open up, we will continue to incorporate and implement global best practices into our efforts to safeguard against the spread of the pandemic,” said Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.

The Northern Emirate has been one of the fastest-acting against the pandemic, becoming one of the first cities to be certified as safe by Bureau Veritas and the country’s first emirate to be given the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) stamp.

 

Gregg Talley of Talley Management Group Named One of the Top 25 Influencers by Northstar Meetings Group

Selected by the editors of Meetings & Conventions magazine, the list features industry professionals who have exemplified creativity, innovation and leadership. For this year’s list, in the wake of COVID-19 and the increased awareness of racial injustice in the meetings industry, the editors chose leaders who responded to these challenges with solutions for the greater good. These solutions included political action and creating new standards for virtual events.

As the President and CEO of TMG, Gregg Talley’s success relies on the consultative approach he uses with clients—that currently stands at 32 national and international associations. Talley believes associations need strategic partners, not administrators, particularly in the current climate.

“Associations need to be proactive and adapt their objectives and activities to the realities of today’s world,” says Talley. “That’s the only way for associations, and their meetings, to continue to have an impact on their members and the community at large.”

Talley was also chair of the Board Congress Task Force for the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Congress and Convention Association, taking place in Taiwan this November and online. Talley was responsible for brainstorming with the board on the vision for this hybrid event, and then collaborating with the various stakeholders to deliver on the vision.

For Talley, who is also past president of the World PCO Alliance, the recognition by Northstar Meetings Group is a special one. “I know how difficult the last year has been for my clients and industry peers, but there is hope. I am honored to be counted among the esteemed leaders on the list who are exemplifying that hope. Together, we are proving that, no matter the challenges, there is always a new way of doing things, and new possibilities that await.”

Talley Management Group, Inc., (TMG) offers full-service association management services, in-person and virtual meetings and events services and association solutions consulting. Founded in 1987, TMG has over 20 full-service association clients and provides event planning and consulting services to many more. Its mission is to create stronger communities and human connections to enhance global society.

Founded in 2009, the World PCO Alliance provides leadership in meeting management through the delivery of streamlined and effective meetings around the globe. The Alliance’s mandate includes the collective exchange of education, technology, and other information for the mutual benefit of the industry and ensuring the effective global promotion of its clients’ events. The organization is comprised of 20 chosen, quality PCOs in the meetings industry from around the world.

 

Photo: Gregg H. Talley, FASAE, CAE, of U.S.-based Talley Management Group, Inc. (TMG), was recently named one of the Top 25 Influencers of the Meetings Industry by Northstar Meetings Group.

Research Points to Low Risk for Covid-19 Transmission Inflight

Manufactirer studies provide insight into extremely few incidents of Covid-19 inflight infections.

 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) demonstrated the low incidence of inflight Covid-19 transmission with an updated tally of published cases. Since the start of 2020 there have been 44 cases of Covid-19 reported in which transmission is thought to have been associated with a flight journey (inclusive of confirmed, probable and potential cases). Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled.

“The risk of a passenger contracting Covid-19 while onboard appears very low. With only 44 identified potential cases of flight-related transmission among 1.2 billion travelers, that’s one case for every 27 million travelers. We recognize that this may be an underestimate but even if 90% of the cases were un-reported, it would be one case for every 2.7 million travelers. We think these figures are extremely reassuring. Furthermore, the vast majority of published cases occurred before the wearing of face coverings inflight became widespread,” said Dr. David Powell, IATA’s Medical Advisor.

New insight into why the numbers are so low has come from the joint publication by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer of separate computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research conducted by each manufacturer in their aircraft. While methodologies differed slightly, each detailed simulation confirmed that aircraft airflow systems do control the movement of particles in the cabin, limiting the spread of viruses. Data from the simulations yielded similar results:

Aircraft airflow systems, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, the natural barrier of the seatback, the downward flow of air, and high rates of air exchange efficiently reduce the risk of disease transmission on board in normal times.

The addition of mask-wearing amid pandemic concerns adds a further and significant extra layer of protection, which makes being seated in close proximity in an aircraft cabin safer than most other indoor environments.

IATA’s data collection, and the results of the separate simulations, align with the low numbers reported in a recently published peer-reviewed study by Freedman and Wilder-Smith in the Journal of Travel Medicine. Although there is no way to establish an exact tally of possible flight-associated cases, IATA’s outreach to airlines and public health authorities combined with a thorough review of available literature has not yielded any indication that onboard transmission is in any way common or widespread. Further, the Freedman/Wilder-Smith study points to the efficacy of mask-wearing in further reducing risk.

Mask-wearing on board was recommended by IATA in June and is a common requirement on most airlines since the subsequent publication and implementation of the Takeoff Guidance by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This guidance adds multiple layers of protection on top of the airflow systems which already ensure a safe cabin environment with very low risks of inflight transmission of disease.

“ICAO’s comprehensive guidance for safe air travel amid the Covid-19 crisis relies on multiple layers of protection, which involve the airports as well as the aircraft. Mask-wearing is one of the most visible. But managed queuing, contactless processing, reduced movement in the cabin, and simplified onboard services are among the multiple measures the aviation industry is taking to keep flying safe. And this is on top of the fact that airflow systems are designed to avoid the spread of disease with high air flow rates and air exchange rates, and highly effective filtration of any recycled air,” said Powell.

Aircraft design characteristics add a further layer of protection contributing to the low incidence of inflight transmission. These include:

 

• Limited face-to-face interactions as passengers face forward and move about very little

• The effect of the seat-back acting as a physical barrier to air movement from one row to another

• The minimization of forward-aft flow of air, with a segmented flow design which is directed generally downward from ceiling to floor

• The high rate of fresh air coming into the cabin. Air is exchanged 20-30 times per hour on board most aircraft, which compares very favorably with the average office space (average 2-3 times per hour) or schools (average 10-15 times per hour).

• The use of HEPA filters which have more than 99.9% bacteria/virus removal efficiency rate ensuring that the air supply entering the cabin is not a pathway for introducing microbes.

• The interaction of those design factors in creating a uniquely low-risk environment had been intuitively understood but not previously modelled prior to the CFD simulations by the three major manufacturers in each of their aircraft cabins. The following are highlights from the manufacturers’ research

 

Airbus used CFD to create a highly accurate simulation of the air in an A320 cabin, to see how droplets resulting from a cough move within the cabin airflow. The simulation calculated parameters such as air speed, direction and temperature at 50 million points in the cabin, up to 1,000 times per second.

Airbus then used the same tools to model a non-aircraft environment, with several individuals keeping six feet (1.8 meters) distance between them. The result was that potential exposure was lower when seated side by side on a plane than when staying six feet apart in an environment such as an office, classroom or grocery store.

“After multiple, highly-detailed simulations using the most accurate scientific methods available, we have concrete data which reveals the aircraft cabin offers a much safer environment than indoor public spaces,” said Bruno Fargeon, Airbus Engineering and the leader of the Airbus Keep Trust in Air Travel Initiative. “The way that air circulates, is filtered and replaced on airplanes creates an absolutely unique environment in which you have just as much protection being seated side-by-side as you would standing six feet apart on the ground.”

Using CFD, Boeing researchers tracked how particles from coughing and breathing move around the airplane cabin. Various scenarios were studied including the coughing passenger with and without a mask, the coughing passenger located in various seats including the middle seat, and different variations of passengers’ individual overhead air vents (known as gaspers) on and off.

“This modeling determined the number of cough particles that entered the breathing space of the other passengers”, said Dan Freeman, the chief engineer for Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative. “We then compared a similar scenario in other environments, such as an office conference room. Based on the airborne particle count, passengers sitting next to one another on an airplane is the same as standing more than seven feet (or two meters) apart in a typical building environment.”

 

Embraer: Using CFD, cabin air flow and droplet dispersion models validated in full-scale cabin environment testing, Embraer analyzed the cabin environment considering a coughing passenger in several different seats and air flow conditions in our different aircraft to measure these variables and their effect. The research Embraer completed shows that risk of onboard transmission is extremely low, and the actual data on in-flight transmissions that may have occurred, supports these findings.

Luis Carlos Affonso, Senior Vice-President of Engineering, Technology and Strategy, Embraer, said, "The human need to travel, to connect, and to see our loved ones has not disappeared. In fact, at times like this, we need our families and friends even more. Our message today is that because of the technology and procedures in place, you can fly safely – all the research demonstrates this. In fact, the cabin of a commercial aircraft is one of the safer spaces available anywhere during this pandemic.

 

Safety is Always the Top Priority. This research effort demonstrates the cooperation and dedication to safety of all involved in air transport and provides evidence that cabin air is safe.

Aviation earns its reputation on safety with each and every flight. This is not different for flying in the time of Covid-19. A recent IATA study found that 86% of recent travelers felt that the industry’s Covid-19 measures were keeping them safe and were well-implemented.

“There is no single silver-bullet measure that will enable us to live and travel safely in the age of Covid-19. But the combination of measures that are being put in place is reassuring travelers the world over that Covid-19 has not defeated their freedom to fly. Nothing is completely risk-free. But with just 44 published cases of potential inflight Covid-19 transmission among 1.2 billion travelers, the risk of contracting the virus on board appears to be in the same category as being struck by lightning,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“The detailed computational fluid dynamics research of the aircraft manufacturers demonstrates that combining the aircraft’s existing design features with mask-wearing creates a low-risk environment for Covid-19 transmission. As always, airlines, manufacturers and every entity involved in aviation will be guided by science and global best practices to keep flying safe for passengers and crew,” said de Juniac.

The DGHO Annual Meeting in Basel: Switzerland’s first large-scale digital congress

The Annual Meeting of the German, Austrian and Swiss Societies for Hematology and Medical Oncology is the biggest physicians’ congress in the German-speaking world and a true long-runner for Basel. From 9 to 11 October 2020, the meeting is being held in this city on the Rhine for the fifth time already – despite the Corona pandemic. And a completely new approach is being adopted: while most of the speakers will be on site, participants can contribute from their homes.

The decision to switch the meeting of the societies’ members to virtual space was taken in early summer already. “In view of the current pandemic situation, holding the conference in its customary setting is not possible for a number of reasons”, says Congress President Prof. Dr. Markus G. Manz. “In addition, as physicians, we also have to think of the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 being spread by medical staff.” Cancellation is also not an option, since the participants are active in a specialist field that is very much driven by innovations. The lively dialogue and constant further training are thus essential for them.

For this reason, only the chairpersons of the four societies and a number of the speakers will be present in Basel, while the attendees will be taking part at their screens at home. To guarantee interactivity, the organisers will be employing a chat function which allows the participants to link in. This works on the basis of the multi-streaming principle. Participants have the opportunity to leave a session at any time and switch to a different one instead. They can also call up all the contents when convenient, since they will be available online until 31 October 2020.

The organisers certainly have ambitious aims. They wish to attract at least half the customary 5500 visitors to date to the online conference. “Analogue conferences will always have a value that virtual encounters cannot replace” says Prof. Dr. Markus G. Manz. “But since it is not yet clear how long the restrictions are going last, we would like to acquire valuable experience for the future in Basel”. The CCB is the right place for this, since it has all the necessary technical infrastructure and has already organised a number of digital conferences. There is thus nothing in the way of successful discourse.

Emirates expands its network in Europe to 31 destinations

Emirates has announced it will resume flights to Budapest (from 21 October), Bologna (1st November), Dusseldorf (1st November), Hamburg (1st November) and Lyon (4th November), expanding its European network to 31 destinations, and offering customers around the world convenient connections via Dubai.

The addition of these five destinations takes Emirates global network to 99 destinations, as the airline continues to gradually meet travel demand, while always prioritising the health and safety of its customers, crew and communities.

Flights to/from Budapest and Lyon will operate twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays while flights to/from Bologna, Dusseldorf and Hamburg will operate twice a week on Fridays and Sundays.

All flights to the five cities will be operated by the Boeing 777- 300ER, providing robust cargo capacity on each flight. Tickets can be booked on emirates.com, the Emirates App, Emirates sales offices, via travel agents as well as online travel agents.

Customers can stop over or travel to Dubai as the city has re-opened for international business and leisure visitors.

Destination Dubai: From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world class hospitality and leisure facilities, Dubai is one of the most popular global destinations. In 2019, the city welcomed 16.7 million visitors and hosted over hundreds of global meetings and exhibitions, as well as sports and entertainment events. Dubai was one of the worlds first cities to obtain Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubais comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety.

Flexibility and assurance: Emirates booking policies offer customers flexibility and confidence to plan their travel. Customers who purchase an Emirates ticket for travel on or before 31 March 2021, can enjoy generous rebooking terms and options, if they have to change their travel plans. Customers have options to change their travel dates, extend their ticket validity for 2 years, or convert their ticket into a travel voucher to use against any future flight-related purchase for themselves or their family and friends. More information here.

Covid-19 PCR testing: Emirates customers who require a Covid-19 PCR test certificate prior to departure from Dubai, can avail of special rates at the American Hospital and their satellite clinics across Dubai by simply presenting their ticket or boarding pass. Home or office testing is also available, with results in 48 hours. More information on www.emirates.com/flytoDubai

Free, global cover for Covid-19 related costs: Customers can now travel with confidence, as Emirates has committed to cover Covid-19 related medical expenses, free of cost, should they be diagnosed with Covid-19 during their travel while they are away from home. This cover is immediately effective for customers flying on Emirates until 31 December 2020, and is valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first sector of their journey. This means Emirates customers can continue to benefit from the added assurance of this cover, even if they travel onwards to another city after arriving at their Emirates destination. For more details: www.emirates.com/Covid-19 assistance.

Health and safety: Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers. For more information on these measures and the services available on each flight, visit: www.emirates.com/yoursafety.