As the latest updates on the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus dominate the news and headlines, there are increasing effects for those involved in planning and organising international events. In particular, businesses and conference organisers who have events and travel requirements planned in the Ebola affected countries in West Africa.
Currently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UK Foreign Office have not issued any travel restrictions but there is growing international concern over the virus containment.
The main countries gripped by the latest outbreak are Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, but there are also a total of 11 countries reported to be experiencing outbreaks. Yesterday (5 August) British Airways announced it has suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end of August amid concerns over the Ebola outbreak.
This week our agency, which specialises in organising international events, had two corporate clients contact them to postpone and relocate forthcoming events planned in, and nearby, Ebola affected countries.
One client has a residential conference planned for next month in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. While Senegal is not listed as an Ebola outbreak country, it neighbours with affected Guinea-Bissau.
The client understandably has to be cautious and has decided to relocate the event. We are currently looking at alternative venue options in Europe which meet their requirements.
For companies with business dealings in these affected areas, there is a huge level of corporate responsibility to employees to ensure their safety.
As with any international incident, health outbreak, terrorist attack or natural disaster, Hotel Desk needs to work quickly and effectively with clients to relocate their conferences and events away from any threat.
With very short lead times, prefixed dates and budget restraints, we were able to draw from our considerable international expertise and contacts to secure alternative global venues and destinations which meet client requirements.