Weekly Now: Celebrating In-Person Meetings, At Home

The latest edition of Global Meetings Industry Day comes as progress is made toward reopening for in-person events. Also: The two primary trade groups in the produce industry announce plans to merge.

Since 2016, the Meetings Mean Business Coalition has been celebrating the meetings industry through Global Meetings Industry Day. This year, as in-person events remain muted due to the pandemic but are showing signs of life, the stakes for the event are higher than ever.

This year’s GMID, taking place April 8, will showcase in-person events that are still going on, adhering to local gathering rules and following safety best practices through the coalition’s Meet Safe platform.

This time around, the coalition will drum up discussion on the importance of meetings and draw attention to its Countdown to Coming Together campaign, a celebration of the return to large-scale in-person events at Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress and IMEX America.

On the coalition’s website, the organizers emphasize the progress planners have made toward reopening events with an emphasis on safety and care, with details in a state-by-state tracker.

“As an industry, we believe raising the bar to meet health and safety standards is a necessity, not an option. We are committed to doing the right thing, the right way,” the coalition states. “We are proud of ways our industry has led the charge, as early adopters of the measures required to carry forward safe in-person business meetings and hybrid events. We remain uncompromising in our commitment to ensuring the safety of every meeting attendee.”

Other recent headlines:

Major produce industry groups to merge. The United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association, the two primary trade groups in the produce space, have announced they will merge under a new name at the start of 2022. “This agreement reflects the ongoing commitment of both associations to deliver the highest level of value to members. Looking ahead, we believe we can accomplish that goal better together building on the synergies and experience of our expert staffs, complementary education programs and member services, and a stronger voice in advocating for our industries,” the associations’ board chairs said in a joint statement. According to Grocery Dive, this merger has been discussed frequently by the parties since at least the mid-’90s, only to have issues such as financial resources and leadership delay the process. But those issues appear to have been worked out, with PMA CEO Cathy Burns set to take over the combined organization and United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel helping with the transition.

Airlines for America members commit to net-zero carbon emissions. The primary association for the U.S. airline industry says its members are on board with an effort to drastically reduce carbon emissions by 2050. To get started, A4A’s member carriers say they will work together with government and other stakeholders to expand the production and use of commercially viable sustainable aviation fuels  in U.S. aircraft, with a goal of  having 2 billion gallons available by 2030. “We are proud of our record on climate change. But we know the climate change challenge [that] our country and the world face has only continued to intensify,” A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio said in a news release. “Today, we embrace the need to take even bolder, more significant steps to address this challenge.”

Positive Guidance

Could new CDC guidance be a turning point for the events industry? As Axios reported last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that fully vaccinated people may travel domestically and internationally without having to show a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine, which (as Swapcard head of engagement Julius Solaris points out) could be the first step toward bringing people back to meetings. The Global Business Travel Association hailed the move as a major step forward.

CDC still recommends that vaccinated people get tested after returning and continue mask-wearing.


Associations are experimenting with formats to find the right mix of networking during virtual events, Samantha Whitehorne writes.

How do you work from home? Association pros explain some of their strategies for making it a little easier to blend career and home life.

Bake some bread. Here’s how associations with ties to pandemic pursuits have adapted to the sudden interest in these activities.

(Chinnapong/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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