Mass Gatherings

Because of their often existing relevance for the travel and tourism sector, reference is made to the ongoing efforts of the World Health Organization in the area of mass gatherings.

WHO refers to mass gatherings as “any gathering of more than 1.000, but usually about 25.000, people at a specific location, for a specific purpose, for a period of time. These include sporting events (e.g. the Olympic Games), cultural events (e.g. world exhibitions, music festivals) social events (e.g. national day gatherings) and religious gatherings and pilgrimages. With increasing air travel and globalization, mass gatherings – while varying in size and nature and purpose – present diverse public health challenges. Health hazards may be increased as a result of the concentration of populations in enclosed and non-enclosed events.”

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The mass gatherings team within the WHO can provide guidance that is appropriate to the needs of event organizers and local and national authorities. This includes a number of planning, management and response tools to help determine infectious disease risks in relation to mass gatherings. In addition, WHO offers the support of an international advisory network on mass gatherings, composed of technical experts from around the world, whose expertise can be brought to bear on particular issues or events on request. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a planned event, please contact massgatherings@who.int.

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