May 8th, 2020

How Countries Are Preparing For Groups

Many meeting and event planners are asking about market preparedness and which countries will be ready to host groups, events, incentives and conferences once travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders ease up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Global DMC Partners President and CEO, Catherine Chaulet speaks with destination experts from around the world to find out the latest updates, straight from the source.

SOUTH KOREA (May 15, 2020)



South Korea is an example for many countries in the way they’ve managed COVID-19. How do you explain their success in managing the crisis? Though there are no fixed dates, when do you expect groups can come back to South Korea?

  • It’s too early to tell when the dates will be
  • As a country, we are focused on personal responsibility. One of the main reasons we are managing this successfully is that people listen to the experts
  • There are strict controls on work shift scheduling to limit the amount of people in the office

South Korea has been open to international travel the whole time. Is this still the case?

  • Yes, however, for all arriving international flights, all passengers are subject to comprehensive testing at the airport
  • They must download a mobile app will monitor them 24/7. They will also be quarantined for the following 2 weeks

Do flights come to South Korea from around the world or do they only come from specific areas?

  • The majority of flights, around 60%, come from European countries
  • The rest are mostly from North America and China

Can you share with us what health and safety processes are being implemented at hotels? Are you implementing anything as a DMC during this time?

  • In most 4- and 5-star hotels, many very strict measures are being taken for employees, such as mandatory testing every day
  • Many hotel entrances are equipped with an air shower, as well as a body temperature scanner - Dining areas are closed, breakfasts are delivered to each guest’s room
  • To maintain social distancing, all sitting capacity is reduced by 50% - All employees must wear gloves and are still required to sanitize their hands daily
  • Hotels that are unable to manage these new guidelines close down
  • As a DMC, to increase safety, we are working with clients to implement a reduction of program participants
  • We are also taking this time to train and become very familiar with new ways to hold events, such as virtual solutions, which we are sharing with clients

How do you feel South Korea is doing as it relates to managing COVID-19? And do you think, out of many countries in Asia, that South Korea is a place for clients to bring their programs?

  • Here, the quick reaction was key to our handling of the crisis
  • Testing is widespread and continuous
  • Bringing groups here is a good idea because our strategies and ordinances in place keep everyone monitored and as safe as possible
  • The domestic market has already started to come back

GREECE (May 1, 2020)



Greece is doing extremely well in their management of COVID-19. Can you tell us a little bit about why this is the case? What has been done?

  • The government listened to the experts and built policy entirely from this
  • The first case was on February 27th and the whole country was confined the following week
  • Companies are closed down entirely, or employees are working remotely
  • The virus’ peak was in March and there was not a second peak in April, as was expected
  • The country is proceeding into “deconfinement” starting May 4th, slowly and gradually reopening small businesses, schools will reopen a few weeks later
  • Restaurants, with newly implemented sanitary measures, will start to reopen
  • Hotels will reopen in June/July

Do you have any indication of when airports will reopen and when international travel will be allowed again?

  • This is still unsure, it depends on the airlines
  • American Airlines, for instance, said that they are resuming flights to Greece starting the second week of June
  • I believe that during the next 8-9 weeks, we will back into “intercommunity transportation” by 70-80%

A lot of our clients are eager to start travelling again but they are concerned about the ability of local suppliers to take care of their group at the same level of quality as in the past. What is Horizon Travel doing in this regard?

  • The travel industry will start rebounding in early June
  • We have implemented communication with vendors: we will be going to all the restaurants, venues, catering companies, etc. and asking for new capacities, new floor plans, new procedures, even for previously confirmed groups
  • We will discover all the new elements and considerations involved in resuming business, such as feasible activities, tour guide policies, how transportation will be affected, etc.
  • All services that we provide are being “rescreened” to see how their operation changes and how best to implement them and run a successful program

PORTUGAL (April 24, 2020)



How is Portugal doing today in the face of Covid-19?

  • Portugal is closed, and we are in standby. Our borders are closed, airplane travel is restricted, and we are still in an “emergency state”. Starting May 4th, the country is slowly going to start to reopen. We have been trying to help companies and stakeholders the best we can by sharing information.
  • Portugal has remained comparably safe and has lower death rates than much of the world. Portugal is a low-density population and only has Spain and the ocean as a border. We believe Portugal has been doing better than others.

When will the markets start opening up again? How are the markets going to ensure good quality after this pandemic is over?

  • There is a spirit of unity we’ve seen during the pandemic. Parties usually in opposition are unified with the government. We’ve been in close contact with our partners and vendors; we will be addressing sanitary concerns strongly. We will create a shield of safety to ensure proper sanitary criteria and protection of everyone here.
  • One of the biggest tasks we’ve had is trying to save vendors, jobs, etc. with funds. None of the assets of Portugal has been damaged. Our main goal was to keep the businesses running and support companies. Training and information has been shared widely. We have webinars happening frequently on how to prepare for the future. We are becoming more digital and we are seeing new ideas.
  • Now is the time to build trust and make tourists feel safe and want to come here.
  • We introduced a stamp that will be given to companies to ensure they are complying with safety and health requirements.

How is Portugal considering tracing people who may have COVID? Are there any changes at the airport/airline level?

  • We are working closely with the airline companies to ensure health and safety. We are still discussing solutions for entry points to the country to try and contain spreading of the virus.
  • The private and public sectors are working together. On May 4th some restaurants and other things will open. Next 2 dates will be May 18th and June 1st.  Hotels are open currently.

What are you as a DMC doing to prove to potential clients that they are being kept healthy and safe?

  • We are being as creative as possible.
  • We are trying to hold events in open air more. Even at night when it becomes cold we can have solutions for that such as heaters, etc.

What is Portugal’s position on cancellations/Force Majeure? Is Portugal following the guidelines of the European Union?

  • The was a law passed last week, any reservation made between March 13th and September 30th can be used as a voucher until the end of 2021. If you can’t use the voucher then you are entitled for a full refund. This is a law and everyone is required to follow it.
  • The companies themselves have to reimburse the value
  • Partners are demonstrating high flexibility


For additional questions we are here to help! Please contact your Global DMC Partners Sales Advisor or