The Indian Exhibition Industry Has Shown Remarkable Resilience
ES. If you have to summarize the year 2021, then how would it be? What learnings can we draw from it to move ahead in the present times?
Sooraj Dhawan. 2021 has been the year of cautious optimism. It was the year of back to business.
The Indian exhibition industry has shown remarkable resilience and re-launched shows keeping in view the health and security protocols. Covid-19 will not vanish on a pre-decided date. We should treat Covid-19 as an endemic rather than a pandemic and plan ahead, 2022 will see more physical shows with a higher domestic participation for the first quarter. Overseas participation should start from Sep 2022 exhibitions season.
ES. How do you feel about the role of technology in our industry in coming times? How can it be used effectively?
Sooraj Dhawan. Technology will be the top driver for successful innovations in exhibitions. We should focus on what technological interventions can help us produce better physical shows.
- Can technology help us run shows better – yes!
- Can technology provide a better participation experience to our exhibitors and visitors- yes!
- Can technology help us reduce wastage of paper, flex, plastics, aircon? – yes.
- Will we do exhibitions the way we did exhibitions in 2019? No, no way!
ES. If you have to put top 3 trends to look up-to in 2022 for our industry, then what would they be?
Sooraj Dhawan. Think domestic exhibitors / domestic buyers
– Use of AI for visitor promotion
– Greater focus on buyers (quality) rather than visitors (numbers)