Yucatan’s international convention center. Photo: Lee Steele / YEL

After being shut down since mid-March under coronavirus contingencies, Yucatan’s convention business will slowly return with a trial event this Thursday.

For the rest of the year, only three of the more than 30 events that were scheduled in the International Convention Center were salvaged. Twelve were canceled and 20 were rescheduled for 2021, said Virginia Arana Pérez, the still-new convention center’s director.

The Oct. 14 event, organized by the Mexican Association of Promoters of Fairs and Congresses — or Amprofec — was characterized as a “rehearsal.” The event is relatively small: 150 invitation-only industry guests will be shown the strict sanitary measures and protocols to follow, she said.

“We want to send a clear message: that in Yucatan we are working hand in hand preparing ourselves by training and we are ready in this venue to carry out events with minimal risk of contagion of coronavirus,” said Gonzalo Novelo Lujan Lujan, the president of Amprofec’s southern region.

This expo includes conferences and smaller meetings, some of which will be streamed on social media.

“This is the way in which we have to adapt to the new normal,” said Novelo Lujan, listing body-temperature scans and even the use of traffic lights to allow staggered access to the site.

“We are making history,” he said.

The program includes a discussion by Yucatan’s Tourism Secretary Michelle Fridman Hirsch as well as a keynote presentation with representatives from Colombia, Spain, China, Russia, South Africa and Greece who will analyze what is happening with the convention industry worldwide.

Food handling and the future of Yucatan’s tourist paradores will also be discussed.

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