On the back of the cancellation of around 70% of the planned exhibitions due to take place in Germany in 2020, the country’s tradefair industry is lobbying hard for a clear perspective on a new start in 2021.
Last autumn organisers still had plans for 380 exhibitions to be held in Germany in 2021, but a month into 2021 and around 110 have been cancelled or postponed to 2022 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, the declining number of infections in the country has prompted the German exhibition industry to renew its call for the reopening of tradefairs, and to base such a strategy on the experience gained in spring and summer 2020.
“Due to the long lead times for realising a tradefair, political work should start as early as possible to map out reliable framework conditions based on the previous regulations for the restart of the exhibition business,” says Jörn Holtmeier, managing director of AUMA – the Association of the German tradefair industry. “Along with the opening of retail stores, tradefairs should also be permitted again,” he says, “because business procedures in both sectors are very similar. A comparable decision has already been made on 6 May 2020.”
In autumn 2020, organisers proved that exhibitions could be held successfully and safely under high sanitary standards. They underline that, against the backdrop of the worst slump in German exhibition business for 70 years, small and medium-sized businesses urgently need their real industry platforms for the presentation of new products and the acquisition of new customers.
The cancellation of so many planned tradefairs has left enormous macroeconomic damage in its wake. In ‘regular’ years, says AUMA, the organisation of exhibitions contributes around €28bn to Germany’s total economic output, of which only €6bn remained.
AUMA reminds that, alongside the organisers, stand constructors and exhibitors have suffered considerable financial losses, too. Hotels, restaurants, forwarders, taxi drivers and retailers have also been severely affected by the cancellation of fairs in 2020 and Holtmeier predicts that if this continues in 2021, a further 100,000 jobs are likely to be at risk in the affected sectors.
Of the 355 international, national and regional exhibitions planned for 2020 only 114 could be held and the planned revenue of around €4bn that the German exhibition organisers had planned for 2020 ended up plummeting by almost 70%.
Photo: CARAVAN Salon - Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann