These are unprecedented times for our industry. COVID 19 is one of the biggest disaster mankind has ever faced in recent times, bringing disruption to the human life worldwide. There is no denying to the fact that our Trade Fair industry, being a face to face sector, is among the worst hit amidst this pandemic. With the effect of Covid-19 the global exhibition industry has seen significant damage with nearly 10,000 trade fairs and exhibitions being cancelled or postponed globally, and India is not spared from this. But every crisis has a silver lining. The Exhibition & Trade fair industry is resilient and is ever evolving. Trade fairs are the lifeline of MSMEs and the catalyst to every nation’s economic growth. Trade fairs are irreplaceable for the value that they provide in connecting the buyers with the sellers. In-fact we are confident that for our economy to re-open and revive, the exhibitions will play a very significant role.
We are confident soon the exhibitions will be allowed to re-open. It is because of the fact that exhibitions are not general mass gatherings. They are indeed, organised business events which are held in a controlled environment. Countries like Germany, China, Korea, Greece have been prudent of this fact and have made way for the exhibitions to re-open. This is the kind of significance that the trade fairs have and i can say that they can never be replaced.
Having said that, virtual & AI will be our important friends at this time. This Crisis shall spur the adoption of new technologies, business models and move towards further digitisation in the trade fair industry. For the participants who cannot travel, going hybrid can generate business opportunities from the safety of their homes/ offices in their home-countries. Eventually, normalcy shall prevail and we can contemplate virtual being an added element in the armoury. It can be a hybrid model complementing the Physical events. Face to Face events are here to stay and it’s something which can’t be replaced.
Germany`s federal government has announced that B2B trade shows may resume as early as June. No longer classified under mass gatherings, such as Octoberfest, sporting events or pop concerts where physical distancing is not possible, B2B trade shows have received the go ahead. Koelnmesse, which hosts Anuga, the world’s largest food & beverage trade fair, said its special task force has been working on a comprehensive action plan to meet all special requirements issued by the federal, the state and the local governments but most importantly, keep all exhibitors, visitors, partners and colleagues safe.
UFI, the global association for the exhibition industry, has welcomed the German government’s move. “We are advocating that not all types of events are equal, and it is encouraging to see that this message has reached the government of one of the world’s most important exhibition markets,” said Mary Larkin, UFI President. “Every exhibition is an organized event – as an industry, we know how to create conditions where attendees can go about their business while taking the necessary precautions in the age of COVID19.”
For any market looking for support, we recommend going through the “Good Practice Guide: Addressing COVID-19 Requirements for Re-Opening Business Events” that has been jointly produced by UFI, the Global Association of Exhibition Industry, AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres and ICCA, the International Convention and Congress Association. In India too, industry leaders and associations have been deliberating on the re-opening of exhibitions. It was imperative that we reflected a collective voice for our industry to make a meaningful impact. For this reason and for the revival of our industry, a special campaign called ‘India MICE Alliance’ was launched by Exhibition Showcase Media.
Headed by ITPO (Mr. Rajesh Agrawal, Chairman, India Mice Alliance & ED, ITPO), and actively supported by ICPB & IEIA, the IMA campaign reflects collectively all voices of the Indian exhibition and convention industry.
A draft of SOPs was prepared by ITPO in close consultation with various industry associations and trade bodies. Notable contributions came in from FICCI, IEIA, IESA, FAITH, AIEO, EEMA and NIMA. After collective review and feedback from the Advisory Committee, the final SOPs were approved by ITPO. The framework provides a comprehensive checklist for re-opening exhibitions safely in India. It encompasses essential guidelines for various stakeholders of the exhibition eco-system including:
- Measures to be adopted by Venue Provider(s)
- Measures to be adhered to by Fair Organisers
- Measures to be adhered to by Service Providers
- Measures to be followed by Exhibitors
- Measures to be followed by Business Visitors / Delegates
The document also enlists additional SOPs for holding conference/seminar during the exhibition. The framework concludes with an essential Incoming Check Protocol. As of today, these SOP’s have been duly submitted to the Government by ITPO on behalf of the IMA initiative. We are hopeful for the early re-opening of exhibitions in India. Should you like to receive a copy of these SOPs, please feel free to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exhibition Showcase has been striving earnestly for the interests of our industry. As you aware that our MICE (Exhibition and conference) industry is badly hit and being industry media, we are coming up with the world’s first of its kind – International MICE Showcase 2.0, on 11 September 2020. It is a virtual event to showcase the preparedness of our sector. As industry begins to open up across the globe gradually, this event will be a useful platform to know about the new age solutions for our sector. It will also bring thought leaders together to engage in constructive dialogues, via the parallel day-long conference sessions. The event will close with a special awards ceremony – International MICE Icons, to honour the achievers of our industry at a global level. Entry to the event will be free for the benefit of our fraternity at large. We will also invite Govt. Officials to check out the level of professionalism and preparedness of our sector. Various industry associations and bodies like NSIC, TPCI, EEMA, FAITH, SITE, IESA, PATA, ADTOI, TAFI etc. are actively supporting this unique initiative for our industry. Over 2500 MICE industry professionals, Exhibition & Conference organisers, global destinations, venues and international bodies will attend the event.
Check out this issue to know what’s happening across the globe in the world of exhibitions. And do not miss out on the exclusive interviews! Do subscribe to Exhibition Showcase on your social media.
Exhibition Showcase will continue to serve you earnestly with passion and commitment.
Stay Safe and Take Care,
Exhibition Showcase, MICE Showcase, Association Buzz
Founder, India MICE Alliance