With shows across various industry sectors being cancelled, the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the exhibition industry in India. The Indian exhibition industry has suffered a loss of Rs 3,750 crore, according to Indian Exhibitions Industry Association (IEIA).With shows across various industry sectors being cancelled, the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the exhibition industry in India. The Indian exhibition industry has suffered a loss of Rs 3,750 crore, according to Indian Exhibitions Industry Association (IEIA).
“In the last few weeks, more than 90 shows have been reported to be either postponed or cancelled due to COVID- 19… with a resultant estimated loss of Rs 3,570 crore for the entire sector and this may increase if COVID-19 crisis lingers on,” IEIA President S Balasubramanian said in a statement. Experts in the sector say, this could hurt nation’s economy further, as exhibitions are effective catalysts of growth UFI, the association for global exhibition industry, has estimated that the global economic damage for exhibition industry is 81.6 billion euros of total output loss for exhibitions only.
The Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) had a good start to 2020 with big exhibitions in the first three months. V Anbu, CEO, BIEC and Vice President, UFI told DH that between April and June, nearly nine shows have been cancelled and two shows stand postponed. He said, “Any show which is postponed or rescheduled for different dates will take time to come back. We hope to see the revival of the industry during the end of the second quarter or if the situation remains grim for some more time, then we foresee revival in the third or fourth quarter.” According to IEIA, the size of Indian exhibition industry is Rs 23,800 crore with more than 550 events conducted annually in the organised sector.
The exhibition industry sector enables trade/business transaction of over Rs 3,00,000 crore, boosting and supporting the growth of various spectrum of industries while also being a colossal employment provider with nearly 1,20,000 people employed in this industry. Jewellery exhibition organiser Expo World CEO Sandeep Bekal, said the B2C business has been terribly hit by COVID-19 because of the popularity of jewellery exhibitions.“Diwali/ Dusshera season starts from August, we will have to wait and see if the govt will put restrictions on all gatherings. It will then become a question of survival for us because our regular overheads – office expense, staff salary – continue to exist, and we can only do so many exhibitions in a year to sustain.” If the situation persists for six months, there won’t be sufficient funds for the organisers to sustain the next six months.
Post the pandemic, there will be a fear among the exhibitors if they should participate or not — a gestational period of another 2-3 months, say experts. Bekal said, if World Expo stays inactive for six months, the company’s revenue would fall to one fourth of what they were generating earlier. While jewellers, most of whom take exhibitions as their main platform to do business, will also take a hit of 10-20%. Various industry bodies are seeking the government’s intervention as many micro and small enterprises, which make the backbone of the exhibition industry may have to suffer because of the lack of business.