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How The Global Events Industry Is Dealing with Corona Virus

ATEX International Exhibitions, PCMA, eVent , UFI

16 May 2020

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Global events industry, represented by over 26 million professionals world-wide, are facing difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone has experienced cancellation and postponing of events, from the organiser side, exhibitors, contractors, service providers and venues.

“Events have been a strong integral part of every industry bringing people together whether for business or lifestyle”

Global events industry, represented by over 26 million professionals world-wide, are facing difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone has experienced cancellation and postponing of events, from the organiser side, exhibitors, contractors, service providers and venues.

From government and public health restrictive regulations to an overall mood of apprehension amongst the public, there are many constraints that lead to the widespread cancellation and postponement of events. There are no events as long as there is uncertainty - When most experts comment about the economic comeback, they are referring to manufacturing and essential services being impacted by the crisis. While we can dispute for months on the value meetings and events bring to businesses and individuals, events were the first to get chopped when the virus started to break. Events are a major vehicle for transmission of the virus.

If things are not clear, if we don’t feel safe, we won’t take the risk to attend an event.

Size and travel will be the two major risk factors both countries and attendees look at when evaluating the risk of attendance. Large events are associated with more risk of contracting the virus. Long-distance and international travel will be perceived as major risk factors as we have no control over what another state or country is doing to prevent the spread of the virus.

This leaves space only for smaller, local initiatives to persist. When will we feel confident enough to host smaller meetings?

The changing face of events, the response of industry as a whole and the support of global governments have been revealed as key themes in how the industry recovers from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Reskilling is something “we all need to be thinking about. Live events as we know it has changed, indefinitely.”

After the first exhibitions taking place in China last month, Germany - the second of the world's three biggest markets for the events industry took a key step toward re-opening exhibitions. The national government and the 16 German states agreed that exhibitions are now on the list of activities that are explicitly listed as possible - other than mass gatherings, which remain banned until the end of August. The decision to give the go ahead for a show will lie with the respective state, and will depend on clear regulations for health & safety being in place.

Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westfalia, has stated that it intends to allow topical (i.e. B2B) trade shows and congresses to run from May 30, with restricted participation and agreed health and safety protocols in place. Germany's AUMA - Association of the German Trade Fair Industry has already presented policymakers with proposals for such regulations. Earlier this week, UFI as well published a global framework for the safe reopening of exhibitions.

Hopefully, other countries will follow when situation gets better as events have been a strong integral part of every industry bringing people together whether for business or lifestyle.

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