Managing director of MICE Knowledge, Rob Davidson, has explained how countries affected by war, terrorism and crimes can restore confidence in their tourism industry.
According to Mr. Davidson, the best antidote to restore confidence in such countries is through the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences and Events industries. He also disclosed that countries with such bad reputations shouldn’t hide anything from the world.
He made this statement during his virtual presentation at the 5th Africa Tourism Leadership Forum in Botswana on Monday, October 24, 2022.
“It’s absolutely true that many countries have poor reputation due to terrorism, wars and crimes,” Mr. Davidson said. “It’s very difficult when organizations are planning conference in three or four years in advance because the situation of the country can change very quickly, and we’ve seen that with Ukraine.”
“Look at Ukraine now. Who will have their conference there? But a time will come when that country is again at peace.”
He said countries with poor reputations should be supported by the MICE industry. However, he urged such countries to leave no stone unturned when recovering or trying to bounce back.
“In my opinion, one way to show support for countries which have lived through very difficult times is to support them in their conference industry; to go there through solidarity.”
“You should never try to hide the fact that your country has had a background of disruption, terrorism and criminality. It’s in the world’s newspaper, so you cannot pretend that it doesn’t happen. You need to acknowledge that, but you need to show that it’s behind you, and you are ready to once more welcome people.”
He continued: “You have to wait until the problem is gone, but then you [should] have a positive message. Your image is one of a country recovering, rebuilding itself, and the MICE industry should be a part of that story of regeneration and rebuilding.”
“So, I see MICE as an opportunity to regenerate and rebuild. It’s an opportunity to tell the world that ‘okay, you know about our problems, but the good news is that we are back in business; our doors are opened, come here, see for yourself, it’s safe and you will have a wonderful experience,’” he concluded.