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Photo Credit: Kenes Group

The editorial board of Kongres Magazine has decided to place the war in Ukraine in the limelight by conducting short interviews with key stakeholders of the global meetings industry. The meetings industry must prevent the flood of fake news and share the outlook of the industry’s professionals on the current situation.

Kongres Magazine talked to Dan Rivlin, CEO of Kenes Group, who shared his outlook on the war in Ukraine, and how the meetings industry might be affected.

Q: Communication is an integral part of this war, and social media is its weapon. What is your comment on the war taking place in Ukraine?

There is unclarity regarding what is really happening, and indeed, fake news stand in the way. What is clear are the facts: Russia invaded Ukraine, and as a result, there are nearly two million refugees fleeing to Europe, with a potential of many more and a lot of unnecessary suffering is imposed on the people of Ukraine.

Q: What does the war in Ukraine signify for the global economy and the meetings industry?

There are many speculations on the impact on the global economy. The outcome depends on various factors, such as the length and seriousness of sanctions. There is a fair chance that together with the inflation, which started to rise prior to the war in Ukraine, we will be experiencing an economic downturn in the coming years.

As for the meeting industry – the war itself has not had any impact so far. I would dare say that in its current magnitude, it is unlikely to have a significant impact. However, an economic downturn could affect demand for events, especially for corporate ones.

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Photo Credit: Kenes Group

“We should use the power we have to condemn acts of aggression such as this invasion.”

Q: Why is it important that the meetings industry reacts to the situation? What response is suitable in your opinion?

When we face injustice, we need to act and do what we can to correct it. The meeting industry has limited power to affect the situation. However, we should use the power we have to condemn acts of aggression such as this invasion, the usage of military force to solve conflicts, and mostly – having military uses against the civil population.

Our industry leadership should condemn the Russian government’s invasion and violence (also against its own people that we have already witnessed). We should suspend the membership of any Russian publicly-owned entities in our organisations (e.g. CVBs, municipally-owned Convention Centers).

Q: How can we aid our colleagues in Ukraine? What is your call to action to all of our colleagues and readers?

I think our colleagues are currently looking into survival rather than salvaging their business. I think we should all take initiations (we at Kenes did some) to support the refugees. I believe this is the most urgent task we are facing right now, and we should act like humans, aiming to save human lives.