By Brad Foster

It’s a scary word manifesto. It sounds serious. Like something a government or political party releases in wartime.

And, as far as the meetings industry is concerned, what we are going through now could be likened a little bit like being in a war. Borders closed. Curfews. Aircraft grounded. Unrest. Protests. You get the picture.

Led by the international Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), together with some of the largest exhibition organisers in the world – AIME, IBTM, IMEX and Meetings Africa -JMIC last week presented the JMIC Manifesto For Economic Recovery Using Business Events.

The aim is to rally governments around the world to get meetings happening again and saving economies everywhere.

The concept was presented as a webinar online with the first part including comments on discussion points about how tough and hard things are now from people who work in the meetings industry from around the world.

It was interesting information but in the opinion of this humble journalist, really didn’t present anything that we didn’t already know.

The second part included information on what the future might look like. That right now is anybody’s guess.

“On completion, the manifesto will set out a series of arguments as to why business events such as meetings, conventions and exhibitions are best positioned to drive recovery and innovation across a broad spectrum of business and professionals in the safest ways now available,” the JMIC said in a pre-event statement.

“It is intended to serve as a resource to industry members around the world who are having to engage with local and regional governments – those who have the power right now to decide over the re-opening of events.”

What I also found disappointing was that the industry was basically talking to itself. Presenters were telling other industry folk how good we as an industry were and why we were so important.

With respect, we the meetings industry know this. It’s others who don’t and who need to know.

I do hope that when the “manifesto” is presented to governments around the world they sit up and take notice.

Will it convince governments to allow more people to come together? I struggle to believe that.

Even more importantly, will people want to come together in large gatherings once they are allowed to do so?

As I said in this e-newsletter last week, people are scared and rightly so. It’s going to be a long time before they want to come together like they did before March 2020 even if they can.

I wish it weren’t the case.

A side note to this was the platform that JMIC used to present its “manifesto” – OnAIR which was developed by EventsAIR and CEO Trevor Gardiner who quickly realised in March the impact COVID-19 was going to have on the business event sector.

This is the second OnAIR online seminar I have been involved in. The first was one month ago and the upgrades they’ve made to the user experience is excellent.

I found the simplicity of the platform great, particularly with the addition of small pre-recorded introductions to specific areas, and the quality also very good.

Less than four months after launch it has to be one of the simplest ways to bring people together online in an all-in-one solution.

Visit to learn more.

And for more information about the Joint Meetings Industry Council and its manifesto visit