Austrian government sets out €300m meetings protection plan

Planners hosting meetings and events in Vienna in 2021 and 2022 will be financially covered by the Austrian government in the case of cancellations or restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Austrian guarantee of liability gives event planners planning security. The coverage can be applied from Friday 18 January 2021.

“The protective umbrella for event organisers that has been decided upon is welcomed by the Vienna meeting industry and understood as an important signal,” says Christian Woronka, head of the Vienna Convention Bureau.

“Between 4,000 and 5,000 congresses, corporate events and incentives take place in Vienna every year – making Vienna one of the most sought-after meeting destinations in the world. In normal times, Vienna’s congress industry generates around one billion euros for Austria. The umbrella shows that politicians are behind the meeting industry and recognize its importance for value creation as well as its innovative driving force for urban development. We are confident that this is a targeted measure that will benefit organisers as well as companies and players along the meeting supply chain. The aim is to increase planning security for events, minimise risk and give confidence to the industry.”

How will it work?

By providing government liability, Austria’s government guarantees that event organisers will not be charged for non-cancellable costs incurred due to coronavirus event cancellations or restrictions.

This means that stakeholders planning an event in Vienna are safeguarded, providing motivation to plan events in Vienna again in otherwise uncertain times. The protection can be applied for from 15 January 2021 and is handled by the Austrian Hotel and Tourism Bank (ÖHT).

Other European markets, including Germany, already have a similar government-backed insurance scheme in place for events cancelled due to COVID-19.

Event professionals in the UK are calling for a similar scheme to protect much-loved and economically required events.

At the beginning of 2021, Sacha Lord, co-creator of Parklife and the Warehouse Project and Anna Wade, communications and strategy director at Boomtown Fair took the case to MPs to explain the critical need for an insurance scheme, which is yet to be confirmed.

Find out more about the Austrian government scheme here.

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