berlin_pilot_project
Photo Credit: visitBerlin, Mike Auerbach

From 15 to 23 June, Germany’s capital city hosted three pilot events with up to 500 attendees – Capital Congress Medicine and Health 2021 (15–17 June), Greentech Festival (16–18 June), and Industry Day (21–23 June). With this project, Berlin’s congress and meetings sector successfully showed how business events can be held safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The results of the participant surveys conducted after the events are now available. They show 93.2% of the attendees surveyed felt they were ‘very well’ or ‘well’ protected from a coronavirus infection at the events, with 94.2% rating the hygiene and safety measures as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Approximately 87% of the participants would also visit future events with the same hygiene and safety measures, while 93% said they would recommend a visit to their event to others.

Burkhard Kieker, CEO visitBerlin: “With these pilot events, Berlin has shown how, with measures such as rapid antigen tests and systematic hygiene schedules, events are possible in the city again. The Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin is now much in demand for advice on this issue.”

berlin_pilot_project
Photo Credit: visitBerlin, Mike Auerbach

Martin Ecknig, CEO of Messe Berlin: “It is crucial to find a safe way back to real on-site events – something visitors to events long for just as much as the companies exhibiting at trade fairs. We are ready to accompany our customers and partners on this path on the Messe site and in our exhibition halls.”

Important insight for future events

As the surveys show, participants reacted differently to the various test processes. At the Capital Congress Medicine and Health, for instance, a same day PCR test conducted on-site was mandatory for admission. Although attendees acknowledged this approach ensured the highest level of safety, some felt it was too time-intensive, in particular those travelling to Berlin especially for the event. In contrast, admission to the Greentech Festival or Industry Day required proof of a negative Covid-19 antigen test, which participants ranked as only a minimal additional effort.

Moreover, when it comes to making admission as secure and straightforward as possible, a key factor is a unified digital interface allowing participants to show proof of meeting the so-called 3G rules of vaccinated, tested or recovered (geimpft, getestet, genesen). Without such a system not only are more personnel needed but, under some circumstances, admission waiting times may also be longer.

The post-event survey was conducted with approximately 320 attendees. The results, available for event organisers, are designed as an added support in realising events during the Covid-19 pandemic.

berlin_pilot_project
Photo Credit: visitBerlin, Mike Auerbach

The unique pilot project to restart Berlin’s event sector

In cooperation with visitBerlin, the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises developed the Perspective MICE Berlin pilot project to prepare Germany’s capital city for restarting its event sector. The project’s three events also provided an opportunity to test in real life such new digital solutions as the ‘BärCode’ app as proof of a rapid antigen test or COVID-19 vaccinations administered by the Berlin Charité Hospital. Some venues also set up special air purifier filters to reduce the number of aerosol particles.

Large events with up to 25,000 participants possible in Berlin

At present, Berlin allows meetings, congresses, and conferences indoors and outdoors with up to 2,000 attendees. Large events are subject to higher upper limits. Up to 25,000 people can attend and participate in an event providing the figure does not exceed 50% of the venue’s total capacity. Such large events must be granted official approval in advance. More details are on the Berlin Convention Office webpage.

Berlin’s top priority is the health and safety of all event participants. In cooperation with the visitBerlin Convention Partner and other partners in the city’s event sector, the Berlin Convention Office has drafted a Hygiene Framework Concept for the Berlin event industry.