If we want to restart the world of exhibitions, we just have to do it, says Enrico Gallorini, CEO of GRS Research & Strategy
If we, as exhibition industry professionals do not take active steps to restart our industry, then who exactly do we expect to do it?
It was in such a spirit, on Sunday 20 September 2020, that I embarked on my journey from Dubai to Milan to visit four fashion-related tradeshows: Homi, Micam, Mipel and Lineapelle.
Undoubtedly, the motivation was important: to see this great September exhibition restart and I can, indeed, say that everything passed off very smoothly.
Coming to Europe from abroad to visit an exhibition, is easier than expected. Thanks to the Italian 'Exhibition Exemption' all the 'bureaucratic' elements disappear.
Before getting on the plane, the Emirates airline asks for a 'negative' swab test, which can be done quickly in any clinic in the UAE. With the printed or digital copy of the test result, you are free to hop on the plane.
I leave from home at 7.10am towards DXB airport. The world has evidently restarted: shops are open, Duty Free with many people, all seems normal.
This is in sharp contrast to my previous Milan-Dubai-Milan trip in mid-July when I felt like I was in a movie - everything closed and all 'alone'!
The flight, apart from the masks and a little more space between passengers, also went smoothly.
I arrive at Malpensa at 2:05 pm, a regular and fast queue at the passports takes me to the custom desk, where I am asked the reason of my visit. I say: 'tradeshow', the agent smiles at me, puts the completed form in a pile of other sheets, and finally I enter in Italy.
I change my clothes, I put on my tie, I take the taxi…and at 15.05 I am at Fiera Milano.
The journey clearly can be done and it is one we have to do. We operators in the tradeshow sector must resume travelling, resume participating in other events. If we are not the ones to set a good example, then who do we expect will?
I want to conclude having reviewed the pavilions, the booths and the beneficiaries of our industry (exhibitors and visitors) doing business, I was left with a good feeling.
And if you are wondering how I managed to avoid quarantine, coming from a non-EU country, well current legislation provides that non-EU travellers can enter Italy for proven work/health/urgency reasons. Tradeshows and sporting events are therefore a valid reason to enter Italy, and avoid quarantine, with the proviso that you must leave the country within 120 hours.