MEI Founder chairs Rio 2016 panel at Event Production Show


IMG 6573Dennis Mills, Founder and Chief Executive of Major Events International chaired a panel of experts discussing ‘Rio 2016: How’s it looking?’ at this year’s Event Production Show at London Olympia. The panel, put together by MEI at the request of the Event Production Show featured Eoghan Gill of Sword Security, Marcela Caballero of MCH Group and Fernando Duarte a Brazilian journalist for the BBC World Service.

The panelists covered a spectrum of industries and between them have extensive experience of working in the Brazilian sports events market including the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and FIFA World Cup 2014 that were held across Brazil. Fernando Duarte kicked off the discussions providing the 40-strong audience with a high level overview of the Brazilian market in relation to the Olympics. He stressed the difference between October 2009 when Rio de Janeiro was awarded the iconic games, witnessing President Lula ‘weeping tears of joy’ fast-forwarding to 2016 when Brazil has plunged into recession placing budgetary pressure on the first South American-hosted Games. When considering Brazilians’ stance on the games, he reiterated that the most important factor is legacy. Brazilians look to previous host cities like Barcelona 1992 which successfully re-generated the city, and are most interested in how the games will lead to the transformation of the city.

When asked to share her experience of the Brazilian sports events market, Marcela Caballero of Switzerland-based MCH Group stressed the importance of taking time to understand the local culture, engaging with the organisers early in the process and taking on board their needs. Eoghan Gill, whose company Sword Security provided security services in Brasilia for the Confederations Cup in 2013 added that there are opportunities to work outside of the remit of the organizing committee of the Games.

With recent media coverage, discussions inevitably turned to the Zika virus and security issues in Brazil. Fernando Duarte declared he was more worried about Dengue fever, which kills 1000 people each year in Brazil. Panelists did not think that the Zika virus would be a deterrent to those interested in visiting Brazil to watch the Olympics. As for security, as a country with large gaps between the social classes, panelists advised that visitors should have their wits about them to avoid any security risks, as with any other large city around the world.

The session ended with some candid questions from the audience about concerns over water quality in Guanabara bay for the sailing events and waste disposal and recycling plans, following London 2012’s zero waste policy.

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