Trevor Foley says one interesting feature of the last few weeks is the reality of learning something new every day!
it’s easy to get down about the situation that the events industry finds itself in – there are some obvious imponderables and often a feeling of helplessness.
However, the nature, character and creativity of so many people in our industry means that, on a daily basis, we are pressing ahead with ideas, lobbying and proposing solutions to the issues at hand.
As players in the events industry, we not only love it but, crucially, we know that trade & consumer shows work for people, businesses and economies. This means that we all have a responsibility to do three key things - educate, re-invent and believe.
We all know we must educate at every opportunity governments, the media and the various powers that be so that we can take responsibility for running safe events while we need to.
While we all want sporting events and festivals back on the agenda, too, exhibitions and conferences ARE different. We have the talent and the technology in our industry in order to be able to manage the flow of participants at our events in a way that festivals and sporting events can’t. Think supermarkets, Ikea…
If, in what is hopefully the short term, we need to re-invent events with wide aisles, dictated visitor flows and no international attendees, then so be it. However, the ‘elephant in the room’ is of course the ability to run events profitably in such circumstances.
Exhibitions and conferences are vital for trade, connections and education. Tradeshows, and the city Messes built to host them, were a crucial part of the rebuilding of Germany after the Second World War. We undoubtedly face a similar scenario now, globally.
There is much evidence everywhere of industry folk working together to share ideas, experiences, intellect and insight. We’ve all heard the expression that “we are all in this together”.
The beautiful thing is that in our industry, we know it is not just words. We are a brilliant industry. The belief has to be that the economic imperative will mean world economies cannot sustain a position that sees health issues take precedence. There has to be a belief, delivered in practice, that we can manage the health risks while giving economic recovery predominance.
I’m certain that we have the talent and abilities in our industry to re-invent, educate where we need to educate, and to believe that we will have a vital part to play in the recovery of the global economy.