According to the organisers’ plans, around 380 trade fairs were to be held in Germany in 2021. So far, around 220 trade fairs have been cancelled or postponed to 2022 due to the uncertain general conditions. In many cases, the trade fair organisers have developed substitute formats, especially digital events with company presentations, interaction opportunities and digital congress programmes. So far, around 55 digital events have taken place.
In 2020, more than 70% of all trade fairs in Germany (368 were planned) had to be cancelled or postponed. For a number of trade fairs, the organisers have decided to postpone dates to 2021 and 2022. Around 50 digital replacement events took place in 2020. Exhibitors were thus able to maintain customer contacts and provide information about new products.
The cancellation of trade fairs not only results in losses for the players directly involved, such as organisers, exhibitors, visitors and service providers, but also has serious macroeconomic consequences. Among others, the hotel industry, gastronomy, transport industry, etc. are affected. According to calculations by the Institute of the German Trade Fair Industry, the overall economic losses due to the cancellation of trade fairs for 2021 already amount to 19 billion euros; 150,000 jobs are at risk and 3 billion euros in tax revenue will be lost to the treasury. In total, the trade fair cancellations since March 2020 have led to overall economic losses of 40 billion euros.
Many federal states are now allowing trade fairs to be held again or have published timetables for the opening of trade fairs, so that in many places trade fairs can start up again this summer. In March 2021, the German trade fairs presented a service package for the re-start, which makes it possible to safely participate in trade fairs. In addition, trade fair organisers have already developed hygiene concepts in the summer of 2020 and coordinated them with the health authorities.
The Re-Start Package
German trade fair organisers can meet all the relevant requirements for safe trade fair participation in Corona times – by taking the following measures:
1. utilisation of the available space potential – German fairgrounds have sufficient space to ensure a general minimum distance of 1.5 m between persons throughout the fairground.
2. limiting the number of visitors to the area used – The trade fair organisers provide a certain minimum area per visitor in accordance with the applicable regulations.
3. control and management of visitor flows – the fair organisers shall ensure, by means of route guidance systems, trained personnel and electronic control systems, that no accumulations of people form and that flows of visitors do not meet too closely.
4. contact tracking – To enable targeted contact tracking, all exhibitors, visitors and service providers on the premises are registered with their name and address. Visitor tickets are usually only available online and relate to fixed days of visit.
5. good air quality – by means of their modern ventilation systems, the fairgrounds ensure good ventilation of entrances, halls and conference rooms. This is further supported by appropriate specifications for open stand construction.
6. cooperation with exhibitors – the trade fair organisers give their exhibitors recommendations and advice in advance of the trade fair to comply with the distance rules as well as the possibilities of personal hygiene already in the stand design and in the planning of the trade fair procedures.
7. application and control of standards – Medical masks must be worn. Disinfectants are provided in high density and all contact surfaces are cleaned in close cycles. The fair organisers shall inform all fair participants comprehensively about the applicable rules on health protection. They regularly monitor compliance with these rules by trained personnel throughout the duration of the fair and during the periods of set-up and dismantling, and draw attention to violations in an appropriate manner.
8. integrated approach with local partners – The trade fair organisers work closely with the regional transport associations and the local hotel industry for the Corona-compliant stay of the participants in the trade fair city.
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