UFI welcomes move by German authorities to separate trade shows from “mass gatherings”

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UFI, the Global Association for the Exhibition Industry, has welcomed a decision by the German government to pave a way for exhibitions and trade shows in the country to reopen. In its list of measures on dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic, Germany has taken the step to segment “mass gatherings”, explicitly highlighting out trade shows and exhibitions as types of events that can be allowed again. While most types of mass gatherings remain banned in the country until the end of August, the 16 German states now have authority to give the go ahead for trade shows and exhibitions, based on a number of preconditions being met – like a limitation of participants, and approved health and safety measures.

As the first German state, North Rhine-Westphalia has decided that it intends to allow topical (i.e. B2B) trade shows and congresses to run from May 30 if (yet to be specified) conditions are met.

“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”, says Mary Larkin, UFI President. “Every exhibition is an organised 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.”

Earlier this week, UFI published a “Global Framework guidance for the safe reopening of exhibitions and B2B trade events”. Put together with a global task force representing all parts of the exhibitions ecosystem, the document delivers the guidance towards both political decision makers and health authorities about how we as an industry as able to provide a safe environment in the age if COVID-19.

Globally the exhibition sector generates €68.7 ($81.1) billion in direct GDP and contributes a total economic impact of €275 ($325) billion. This ranks the sector as the 56th largest economy in the world, larger than those of countries such as Hungary, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, and Ecuador.