Philadelphia telling a positive story, with IAEE in town

International venue management company, ASM Global, is hosting the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, for what it says is the largest think tank of trade show organisers and ecosystem partners since the pandemic.

The Expo! Expo! event is taking place 7-9 December at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC) and IAEE is expected to draw about 1,500 visitors and 185 exhibiting companies.

After serving as vaccination site for the community during the height of pandemic, PCC reopened for events in April 2021 and hosted its first major trade show, Natural Products Expo East (NPE), in September. NPE attracted approximately 15,000 attendees and 800 exhibitors.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) research indicates that the US exhibition industry will ramp up significantly in 2022.

“This is an incredible opportunity to address the pent-up demand of the last 20 months,” said Ron Bension, ASM Ggobal president and CEO. “Hosting IAEE offers PCC and ASM Global the opportunity to lead these large-scale events back to live… This event begins what we see as the upcoming business meeting boom in Philadelphia and worldwide.”

ASM Global is showcasing its VenueShield programme at PCC and Bension says the group “remains committed to providing the safest environment possible to our trade show and convention clients across the globe”. With its partners, ASM Global has implemented VenueShield at our 300+ facilities.

While, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research reported there was a 78.8% decline in exhibitions for 2020, at the local level in Philadelphia hotel occupancy declined 59.5% from 2019 to 2020. Fifty-eight percent of all jobs lost were tourism and travel related and there was a loss of $3.2bn in economic activity due to lack of visitor spending in the city, according to the Philadelphia CVB 2020 Annual Report.

The City of Philadelphia currently requires masks to be worn inside all Philadelphia businesses and institutions. IAEE is also requiring that all attendees and exhibitors participating in the in-person event must be fully vaccinated and present proof of vaccination.

“We believe we have the proper safety measures in place to best position the industry for the highly anticipated growth of live meetings and events,” Bension said. CEIR predicts the US exhibition industry will fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.

The rebound has already begun in Philadelphia, where, according to CEIR, trade shows and events have had an economic impact of more than $190m. By comparison, 2019 events booked by the PHLCVB generated $388min direct spend and $600m in economic impact.

As of October 2021, tourism in Philadelphia has supported 53,300 hospitality and tourism industry jobs.

Looking ahead to 2022, more than 120 total events (including conventions and trade shows) have been booked by the PHLCVB with nearly 300,000 expected attendees, as of November. Some of the largest events include the Natural Products Expo East for the second year in a row and the American College of Rheumatology Annual Convention.

“We are excited to be welcoming ‘the show for shows’ IAEE’s Expo! Expo! to Philadelphia,” said Gregg Caren, president & CEO of the PHLCVB. “Convention business like this has a strong impact on the city, supporting our vital hospitality industry in addition to small businesses and restaurants as Philadelphia focuses on getting back to business. Thanks to our partners at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for their efforts to continue to host safe and successful trade shows.”