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Experience at Tokyo 2020: Part One


Image source: Unsplash


As the Delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gets underway in Japan, XMC Sr. Manager, Andrew Bell, is on the ground in the Athlete’s Village and at key venues, offering insights into how brands are activating against a Games dealing with the dual issues of a global pandemic and significant public opposition in its host country. Weekly reports and images will keep us up to date as the Village fills, the venues go “lights on” and the Games of the XXXII Olympiad get underway.


Much has been said about Tokyo’s decision to proceed with the postponed 2020 Olympic Games, with Japan’s ever-changing COVID situation driving a sense of uncertainty amongst all those invested in its delivery.


Those conversations notwithstanding, the imminent arrival of athletes, officials and staff from more than 150 countries, with a pandemic still not quite in the rear-view mirror, requires unwavering attention, ensuring water-tight management and a visibly robust application of protocol. Japan’s efforts to mitigate risk reflects the country’s steadfast approach to keeping things safe and secure. Offering a sense of security to stakeholders and for all those observing from both within Japan and around the globe is paramount to countering criticism of the decision to host.


As of July 9th, the stakes were raised once again, with a Five-Party meeting including the Japanese Government and the IOC, confirming that due to rising cases in the Capital, Tokyo’s quasi-state of emergency would be extended through August 22nd .


“Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the resurgence of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up virus protection measures.”
Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga

Those enhanced protection measures, included confirmation that The Olympic Games would be a TV-only event. Venues in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures would now be closed to public spectators, a difficult decision and reversal of announcements on 50% spectator allowances made just a month ago.


No changes though were necessary to the strict entry and initial quarantine protocols applied to all international staff, many having already arrived in Tokyo or due to land within the coming days. A laundry-list of pre-travel requirements was delivered to those staff fortunate enough to receive special dispensation for entry into Japan. XMC is currently represented at the Tokyo 2020 Games and our staff in Tokyo reported back on the measures put in place through to arrival.


PRE-DEPARTURE


International couriers delivered confirmation of approved entry, in the form of official Games Accreditation and eligibility certificates from the Japanese Government. This delivery represented the start of protocols, weeks before flights and closely followed by the downloading of a series of mobile apps that would be essential for navigating entry procedures.


The apps confirmed completion of pre-travel PCR testing, ticketing and travel details, Games working schedules, venue access and action plans offering physical locations or required travel for an initial 14-day period. All details were uploaded and confirmed by the Japanese Government before staff had even left their homes and departed for airports and it was made abundantly clear that any unapproved divergence from these plans would result in serious consequences and potential removal from the Games.


LANDING IN TOKYO


Arrivals into Tokyo’s airports are subject to a lengthy process of document reviews, confirmation of COVID19 home-country testing and review of information stored within the mobile apps, now activated for use in monitoring quarantine adherence, daily health check results and location information. The process, exceeding four hours, leaves those arriving with no doubt as to how seriously Japan is enforcing its border controls.


3 + 11


Whether one is a volunteer, technical official or Sebastian Bach, head of the IOC, there is no escape from an initial 3-day period of full isolation, bound to hotel rooms in the city. The daily COVID testing and health checks, including temperature monitoring via the apps keep the Japanese Government abreast of any potential health issues should they arise.


Following this initial period, freedom to travel to approved working venues is afforded to staff, with an additional 11-days restricting staff to the use of private transport and entry to the controlled bubbles around sport venues. This ensures that vital Games preparations can be carried out, in line with the approved action plans, before staff return to their hotel rooms for ongoing testing.


LOOKING FORWARD


At the 14-day mark, the use of public transportation and freedom from strict hotel quarantine is to be afforded. Trust in staff, sharing the mutual-goal of keeping Tokyo 2020 safe for athletes and city residents, coincides with the opening of the Games on July 23rd, when the eyes of the world will be watching and a collective breath will be held. And as readers of this blog, you’ll be treated to an inside look as the games of the XXXII Olympiad kick off.

About the Author: Andrew Bell is XMC’s Sr. Manager, Brand Strategy and has been connected to the Olympic movement for more than a decade. As a marketing strategist, photographer and former international athlete, he is uniquely positioned to report back from Tokyo 2020, offering insight into brand and sponsor activities within a truly unique edition of the Olympic Games.


About XMC: Founded in 2006, the XMC Group of Companies and its dynamic team of industry professionals provide strategic counsel, negotiation, execution, data analytics and measurement of sponsorship and Experiential Marketing™ programs and services. By leveraging a shared passion for sport, music, culture and cause, XMC connects with consumers, creates deep engagement, and inspires target action. With over $1.5B in deals negotiated, activated and/or valuated, XMC delivers client success by taking ownership, inspiring confidence, and exceeding expectations.




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