Event Organisers Update February 2021 ISSUE 195 - an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO).

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Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.


Understandably the new quarantine rules for arriving travellers to England from more than 30 "red list" areas which require them to pay £1750 to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days on the pain of a fine of up to £10,000 if they don't have drastically and immediately reduced the number arriving, presumably the whole idea. The quarantine rule also applies in Scotland, and applies to travellers from anywhere.

For those lying about where they've come from, or presenting forged documentation the penalty is far more severe - a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

There is polarisation of opinion on the draconian new measures with some accepting that all governments have to do what it takes to stop more people dying from deadly new strains of the virus, and others, making their money from travel, accusing the authorities of "taking a wrecking ball" to the travel industry, and destroying it by advising against booking holidays yet. According to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) the country with the biggest fall in tourism due to the pandemic is Hong Kong (90.6% down) followed by Taiwan at 84.8%, Macao at 82.7%, Malaysia at 80.2%, Greece at 78.2% and Spain at 75.1%. In fact 31 countries have fared worse than the UK, which is showing a 50.6% drop.

Currently the NHS is running a hard-hitting series of ads showing a Covid victim struggling to breathe with the caption "Look him in the eyes and tell him you really cant work from home". Perhaps an appropriate variation would be "Look him in the eyes and tell him your livelihood is as important as his life".

Or is that a bit too close for comfort?


With consideration being given to vaccine 'passports' being used to gain access to pubs and restaurants, when they open again, it will be interesting to see if our event venues follow the same path, and insist that all delegates attending, and their venue staff, are up to maximum protection with their vaccinations, for the safety of all.

Of course it's going to depend on the likelihood of the passports being forged and sold, and fines or prison sentences being harsh enough to deter the fraudsters who are happy to knowingly put people's lives at risk for a profit.


Fraudsters are trying to exploit the current NHS Covid vaccination programme by sending out text messages that claim to be from the NHS offering the vaccine. They then offer a link that connects to a fake NHS website that asks for personal and bank details.

Recipients are advised NOT to click on the link, and that the NHS will never ask for personal or bank details to supply the free vaccine.

These and other suspicious texts can be brought to the attention of service providers for appropriate action by forwarding them to 7726 (SPAM on the keyboard).

There has also been a sharp increase in tax scams, with fraudsters sending pre-recorded phone messages claiming their victim's National Insurance number had been compromised, and claiming to be from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Included in the list of potential victims receiving the bogus messages was Jim Harra, chief executive of HMRC.


Social distancing is neither practical nor profitable for festivals.

This is the view of Eric van Eerdenberg, a Dutch promoter who is organising a number of music festivals next month on two sites with a capacity of 60,000 and 100,000.


Two men and two women from Middlesborough have been handed prison sentences for claiming that their 2016 holiday in Grand Canaria had been ruined by gastric illness.

Their claims were undermined by pictures posted on social media showing them enjoying the waterslides, swimming pool and bar, and by one of the party completing a Jet2 survey saying he was "very satisfied" with the choice, cleanliness and quality of the meals offered by the hotel.

Christopher Byng, 38, Barbara Byng, 64, and Anthony Byng, 66, received four-month sentences, with Linda Lane,36, having her sentence suspended. The four have also been ordered to make an interim payment of £20,000 towards Jet2's legal costs.


The convention bureaus of eight UK cities are offering to host hybrid and Covid-secure events in multiple cities from one point of contact. The eight cities are Birmingham and West Midlands, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle Gateshead, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The initiative is termed HESUK, standing for Hybrid Event Solutions UK, and can be accessed from the convention bureaus of any of the above English Core Cities.



o TV personality Amanda Holden travelled from London to Cornwall to visit her parents after receiving a 'distressing' telephone call from them. Reportedly the police have been advised.

o Two unnamed men in their 20s have been fined £10,000 each for organising a mass snowball fight on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds

o Police raiding a party of 20-30 guests in Islington reported that when they knocked at the door the music volume was turned down, the disco ball lights were switched off and the curtains were drawn.

o Essex police have fined 18 'reckless' people £800 each, nearly £15,000, for attending a house party, claimed to be a music video shoot, in Sewardstonebury.

o Around 200 people were discovered partying at the Richmond Hotel, Liverpool, and 13 fixed penalty notices were issued.

o In Dudley Port, West Midlands, the owner of a workshop there was fined £1,000 after police discovered it had been turned into a makeshift pub called the Covid Arms housing 13 drinkers.

o On Buckingham Street, Birmingham, police discovered another makeshift bar with 150 people across two floors packed in. More than 50 are believed to have fled as police arrived, to be pelted with bottles. Around 70 drinkers were fined £200 each and the DJ could be facing a £10,000 fine.



o The UK Border Force reported that up to 1,000 travellers a day, of the 20.000+ arriving every day, were getting into the UK illegally using forged negative Covid test certificates to avoid quarantine, and start mixing sooner with UK residents.

o In Austria 96 foreign skiers have been forced into quarantine by the police there after checks at 44 hotels at the Tyrolean Alpine resort of St Anton am Amberg. It was reported that some claimed their reason for being there was to look for work. Most will face fines of up to £2,000. The skiers came from Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Poland, Australia and Ireland.

o A dental practice in Tenerife has reported that they have had more than five bookings a day from people in Ireland, who then failed to turn up, showing that they were simply looking to get around current travel restrictions.

o More than 100 people in Thailand, including 89 foreigners, have been given suspended prison sentences for attending a party in a bar.

o In Peru 487 officials took advantage of their positions to secretly receive the earliest injections of Covid 19 vaccine. Peru's interim president Francisco Sagasti commented that the officials "failed to do their duty as public servants".

o In Denmark a man in his early twenties has been given a four month prison sentence for coughing and shouting "corona" at police officers who were carrying out routine traffic checks last March. The man later tested negative.



o Plans have been submitted for the conversion of the 186-bedroom Royal Angus Hotel, Birmingham, into a 174-bedroom aparthotel.(TheBusinessDesk.com) The hotel is next to Snow Hill train station and the Colmore business district, and is owned by SevenCapital, who also own the four star Park Regis Hotel, Five Ways, Edgbaston.

o Plans have been approved for the building of a new 188-bedroom Premier Inn hotel on the former Carpetright site at Layerthorpe, in York. (TheBusinessDesk.com)

o Set to open in Spring 2022 in Liverpool is its tallest hotel, the £38 million, 221-bedroom Novotel in Paddington Village, east of the city. (TheBusinessDesk.com)


For his ability to slither away when in danger of being caught this was one of the nicknames of conman and cold killer Charles Sobhraj, the final j is pronounced, who drugged, robbed and brutally murdered at least ten victims in 1975/6, crimes for which he has received prison sentences totalling nearly 40 years.

The murders were of male and female Western tourists on the Asian "Hippie Trail"and carried out by Sobhraj when he was 30/31 with the help of a fellow murderer Ajay Chowdhury. Sobhraj is now 76, and still in prison in Katmandu, Nepal. He is said to be in poor health after a number of open-heart operations performed at the prison, and to be institutionalised by spending most of his adult life in jails, where he is known to all and a "celebrity", to the extent that he feels uncomfortable in the outside world. Chowdhury has never been caught and is said to have been murdered by Sobhraj in 1976. Another accomplice, completely besotted with Sobhraj and aware of his robberies, frauds and murders was a French-Canadian tourist looking for adventure, Marie-Andree Leclerc (30) who assisted him, shared his bed (with others) and who was found guilty of some of her contribution. She was paroled and went back to Canada, to die of ovarian cancer in 1984, when she was 38.

The nemesis of Sobhraj was a painstaking young diplomat at the Dutch embassy in Bangkok, Herman Knippenberg and his wife Angela, whose moral outrage at the callous murders of a young Dutch couple - smoke in their lungs proved they were still alive when their bodies were set on fire - prompted an investigation of the deaths and the start of the building of a huge file of evidence against the killer, one which linked all the murders together.

The story is told in The Serpent, an eight-part miniseries which premiered last month and is available on BBC i-Player. The acting of the villains and the heroes is seriously good with the unsmiling and deadly killer believably played by Tahar Rahim, an actor who said that Sobhraj was "what you don't want to be" and that he "saw him as an animal", perhaps the source of one reviewer's comment that Rahim "prowled amid these Western innocents with a look that lions give to grazing zebra" His besotted moll was also a strong turn by the rather lovely Jenna Coleman, getting a break from playing wholesome roles - and they don't come much more wholesome than Susan Brown from the TV Room at the Top - and perhaps relishing the change. Ajay Chowdhury was played by Amesh Edinweera as a chilling mix of sickly-sweet charm and real menace. Hero of the story, Herman Krippenberg was heroically played by Billy Howle, with his wife Angela played by the equally rather lovely Ellie Bamber.

For some the continual switching back and forth across time frames will be confusing, though some may find it forces concentration, and the highlight for us was the last few minutes when pictures of the real people involved were flashed up, with descriptions of what they were doing now. It was encouraging to learn that Herman Krippenberg was keeping his files updated and open. The letdown, for us, of the real-life story was the fact that the corrupt Thai police interrogated Sobhraj and his gang but released them because the authorities there were scared that a murder trial could frighten off tourists and their lucrative spend in the country. Did more die because of this?


Fans of the atmospheric and Gothic Hammer horror films will enjoy the Russian fantasy/horror production of Viy (pronounced Vee) a film adaptation of a novella by the same name from the influential Ukrainian writer, Nikolai Gogol (1809 - 1852) who, after a glittering career tragically went mad and died at the young age of 42.

The movie, filmed in 1967 but looking considerably older in a good way, features the demon Viy, a squat, ugly, shambling abomination. The story starts with a group of three students from a monastery in Kiev who break for their summer vacation, start to walk home and lose their way in the unfamiliar countryside where they chance upon a farm where an old woman begrudgingly agrees to shelter them for the night, as long as they are lodged separately. One of the students, Khoma, is later attacked by the woman, a witch, who rides him through the air like a horse. Back on the ground Khoma beats the witch, almost to death, to then see her transformed into what looks like a lovely, innocent and dying young girl, who is actually the daughter of a Cossack chief.

The dying girl's last wish is that Khoma is brought from his monastery to her side as she dies, and that he spends three successive nights alone in the church with her corpse. The Cossack chief arranges this with Khoma's rector and the young student spends his first frightening night watching the corpse, really the witch, come to life and try to attack him, without success, due to the magic circle he has drawn around himself for protection. The second night is worse, with various demons summoned by the cackling young witch to help her kill Khoma, and on the third and final night a huge gathering of these and more demons is joined by the terrifying, summoned Viy, to finish the job…

This historic horror movie is featured in the film compendium 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and is described as a "colourful, entertaining and genuinely frightening film of demons and witchcraft that boasts some remarkable special-effects work" It is one of two being released in a two-disc Blu-ray limited edition of 3,000 copies by Eureka Entertainment on March 15 as part of The Masters of Cinema series. The other film is a more modern Serbian take on the same Gogol story, A Holy Place, made in 1990. In this the witch transforms into a mature and beautiful temptress who dominates the film with her looks and body language, and the sexual elements, some Sapphic, of the story, are much more prominent. In truth this reviewer enjoyed both, for different reasons. Also in the pack are three segments of Russian silent films totalling 44 minutes, an audio commentary, an archive documentary and video essay on writer Nikolai Gogol, new essays and a collector's booklet.


The Spanish bullet train service has now been launched with promotional fares for the 390 mile, three hour trip from Madrid to Barcelona offered at £4.43. This is the equivalent of London to Glasgow, which takes five hours and cost £44.55 for an advance single, or ten times as much for two hours more travelling.

Of course our rail fares will be much more competitive when our HS2 high-speed rail links, "very much something people can afford" are completed, wont it?


Old Grit was sorry to hear that a 24 year old police officer in South Wales, PC Tasia Stephens, faced a misconduct hearing and has now been sacked following her reported off duty attendance at a house party last April, after which she crashed her car into a shop and failed a breathalyser test.

Not the best of days, then...


Women talk too much in meetings.

So says Yoshiro Mori, 83, a former "gaffe-prone" prime minister of Japan and the chief of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Mr Hiro's sexist remark caused an outcry globally and he has now apologised and resigned over it, leaving the fate of the massive sports event due to start in five months in considerable doubt.

According to researchers at Brigham Young University and Princeton in mixed meetings 75% of speaking time is taken up by men.


We hear that Canadian American economist and intellectual John Kenneth Galbraith had a jaundiced view of meetings, claiming that they were "indispensable when you don't want to do anything".

As if.


Industries reveal what they would consider an acceptable level of lives lost to protect livelihoods… The Law Society explains what it is doing to bring to book solicitors who have knowingly made money from false holiday sickness claims… HS2 management publishes their highly competitive rail fares… and much, much, more…


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