EMECA announces record member activity at General Assembly in Stuttgart

The European Major Exhibition Centres Association (EMECA) met for its Spring 2024 General Assembly at Messe Stuttgart and the association’s president, Roland Bleinroth told delegates: “The performance of the industry has not only fully rebounded from the pandemic years, but is reaching new record levels, with sustainability aspects being an increasingly high priority.”

An overview of activity presented to members indicated that 2024 could be “a very good if not even a record year for the EMECA members’ venues and exhibition business”. Both trade fairs with a national and a European participant focus have reported high attendance levels, delegates heard.

But challenges remain. Unfortunately, long delays in visa applications to attend exhibitions in Europe from several countries remain a problem. Additionally, all EMECA members reported an impressive number of new shows equally in Europe and abroad, own and guest exhibitions. The focus countries or regions for the shows abroad are the USA, Latin America, China and India.

Despite the positive development with regard to turnover values, the situation continues more difficult on the profitability side. Major challenges include the geopolitical and economic uncertainty in this year of elections worldwide, inflation in labour costs, and challenges of talent attraction and staff retention.

All EMECA members report prioritising and accelerating the transition towards net zero carbon emissions by investing into their infrastructure with a particular focus on sustainable energy performance of the buildings, as well as adapting to circular practices. EMECA is a gold sponsor of the global industry initiative Net Zero Carbon Events and the association is part of a joint effort with The European Exhibition Industry Alliance (EEIA) and UFI to jointly monitor this and get behind an advocacy effort in Brussels.

Guest speaker at the Spring General Assembly Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economy, Employment and Tourism of the Baden Württemberg region, Dr. Rapp, highlighted the impact of the exhibitions on the region and their contributions to innovation and competitiveness, and trade. And Bettina Fetzer, vice-president communications & marketing Mercedes‐Benz AG provided valuable insights on the latest brand marketing strategy, aiming not only at the classical formats like exhibitions but targeting more and more GenZ with influencer events and celebrities.

The EMECA General Assembly welcomed Bella Center Copenhagen, Denmark as a new member 2024, the first Nordic country represented in EMECA.

EMECA now unites 24 leading exhibition venues in Europe, many of which are also exhibition and event organisers.