IWINETC 2020: Safety Update for Prospective and Registered Delegates

July 2020 

IWINETC, its speakers and representatives from Friuli Venezia Giulia have prepared a two-part online event to provide wine and culinary professionals with not only an update on IWINETC but also insights and inspiration about what’s next for wine and culinary tourism. 

This summary of session one below provides an update on IWINETC related to the event, health and safety. Speakers in this session include Anthony Swift, IWINETC Director, Lucio Gomiero, PromoTurismoFVG CEO and Lara Persello, Area Enogastronomia – Strada del Vino e dei Sapori del Friuli Venezia Giulia. 

To kick off the session, Lucio Gomiero spoke on behalf of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region and the event. He stated that the region is recovering from the lockdown and is waiting for guests with open arms and open hearts. The event is very important for food and wine business, their region and Italy. They are excited to welcome guests at the end of October for IWINETC. 

Next, Anthony Swift provided three announcements for the event regarding health and safety: 

  1. In anticipation of potential travel restrictions, IWINETC 2020 is a hybrid event. If prospective or registered attendees are not able to travel or simply do not wish to, they are still able to attend the conference online. The sessions in the main conference area will follow the conference timetable and will be available to view online for virtual attendees. 
  1. Due to the current situation, some of the sessions will be revamped to address issues relating to wine and tourism in the new normal. 
  1. It is now possible to contact exhibitors prior to the event to request information or schedule meetings from the comfort of your own homes. Also, for the workshop providers, this contact feature will soon be incorporated so attendees can contact workshop providers as well. 

A safety controls PDF was shared with the group and is linked at the bottom of this post. It addresses safety controls and precautionary measures for the two-day conference, business to business workshop, the exhibition area, the FAM trips for the agents and press groups and the trips for the delegates who wish to stay longer after the event to enjoy and discover the region. 

To continue the conversation regarding conference format changes due to COVID-19, Anthony addressed what will happen before and during the events to keep delegates safe:

What will happen before the event to create a safe environment for delegates? 

  • Before the event, all registered delegates will be notified of new measures in place and of what to expect. These changes will be based on World Health Organization mandates and suggestions as well as European Union travel restrictions which are updated every fifteen days. 
  • The IWINETC safety document will be updated with any necessary modifications as they become available. 
  • Delegates will receive their badges ahead of the event so when they arrive, they will pick up their folder, lanyard and conference bag in a contactless registration. 

What changes will be made at the event to create a safe environment for delegates?

  • Day 1 of the conference is Monday, 26 October. If delegates are arriving at Venice or Trieste airports on day 1, there is a free bus transfer to the venue. A booking system will be in place ahead of the event so delegates can book their buses in accordance with their flight arrival times. The number of passengers for each bus transfer will be restricted to limit the number of delegates per bus to support physical distancing. 
  • IWINETC will employ a combination of measures to preserve physical distance at the events including extending opening and closing times, staggering conference session timings to avoid overcrowding, introducing barriers where appropriate and spaced seating at conference talks.
  • Sessions will be booked in advance to avoid overcrowding in any particular session.
  • Networking will take place in larger venues to allow for proper physical distancing.
  • In the conference venue, there will be messages from the podium which will remind delegates of physical distance measures, behaviors, and reminders about personal hygiene. 
  • Branded IWINETC face masks will be provided to guests to wear at the event and bring home afterward. 
  • In each conference bag, a personal hand sanitizer will be provided. Additional hand sanitizer will be available at the events. 
  • In the unlikely event that a delegate may need medical support, it will be available.
  • Delegate contact details will be collected at registration and can be used for contact tracing if needed. 

Questions & Answers

Attendees of the session asked questions in the live chat forum. Their questions have been answered by IWINETC and representatives of Friuli Venezia Giulia:

Question: Is Italy allowing Canadians into the country? Because Canada is on the safe travel list for the European Union but not for Italy.

Answer: What we know so far is Italy should be following the list from EU.

Question: What is the deadline to register as an attendee?

Answer: As soon as ticket sales finish. There are still some available so you should be able to continue to book your spot through August and September.

Question: How will safety measures affect the workshop meetings?

Answer: The workshop meetings will be managed on a one-way system. Delegates will meet with agents one on one at a distanced seating and then will continue on through the workshop.

Question: If we were on your list to be invited on the press trip will you contact us directly?

Answer: Yes 

Question: Will deposits be refunded if the event has to be canceled?

Answer: We hope it won’t be canceled. Refund policies are on the registration forms. Please review the refund policies before registering.

Question: Any idea when flights will be book for the press trip?

Answer: We will let you know as soon as they are going to be booked. 

Question: Will deposits be refunded if the United States is still on the ban list? 

Answer: We will have to wait and see what the situation is and come up with a suitable refund policy. 

Question: If we decide not to attend and be online, will there be any networking for those not attending in person?

Answer: As an online attendee, you will have access to ask questions to speakers. For networking events, you can use the Facebook page for present and past IWINETC attendees as the best place to network to make contact with journalists, MWs, producers and more.

Question: Assuming we can still come (USA), will the FAM trip we were originally confirmed on still stand?

Answer: Yes. all the FAM trips are confirmed in the same way. 

Question: How many buyers on the sessions meeting have already confirm?

Answer: If referring to workshops, the diary that we opened in February/March will be wiped, the same diary system will be used to set appointments before the business to business workshop. The reason it’s going to be wiped is because some of the agents aren’t going to be attending so new agents are going to attend in their place. Of the 50 who were confirmed, only 10 have dropped out. There will be 10-20 new agents in the diary system.

Question: If people from the United States are not able to travel to Italy then workshop will be severely hindered…why not make available b2b sessions online?

Answer: We firmly believe as of today the event is going to go ahead safely without any problems. So, the suggestion to have a business to business workshop online would be a good suggestion if we were starting from scratch, but as so many people are committed to attending in person, both agents and providers (none of the providers have canceled in the workshop – maybe 1 or 2 at most have dropped out), it will be in person on 29 October. 

Question: Will wine tasting be possible in the exhibition area? We are registered and intend to bring some wines. Also, are there any restrictions related to the Exhibitors?

Answer: We will answer that as soon as new guidelines are confirmed because new guidelines are coming every week. As for now, it is allowed. We will provide more space for every exhibitor so guests won’t que in front of exhibitors. We will provide more frequent change of glasses. All precautions will be taken. We will see what the new guidelines are leading up to the event. You will be updated through the website and through the PDF with the new information every time we have it. Continue to make arrangements to bring wine. 

Question: I was registered as an agent and had to take a refund less 20% because of the refund deadline.. just did not know if I could come. Can I apply that 20% to a new registration? Because I can come now…

Answer: If you opted for a refund, you simply pay back the difference to reregister. You don’t have to pay the registration fee again.  

*Please note, every 15 days the European Union travel ban changes so please keep looking to see what the EU says about traveling into the EU. Please also check the IWINETC website for updates to the safety controls PDF as this post may not be accurate over time.

Safety controls PDF>>

Register as a conference delegate here>>

Want to ask a question? Then please use the comments box below this post.

Article: Rachel Di Mattia

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