Germany's federal government and states have announced that B2B trade shows may resume as early as June.
No longer classified under mass gatherings, such as Octoberfest, sporting events or pop concerts where physical distancing is not possible, B2B trade shows have received the go ahead. The reopening will be solely under the authority of the respective 16 regional state governments and will face special health and safety measures.
Koelnmesse, which hosts Anuga, said its special task force has been working on a comprehensive action plan to meet all special requirements issued by the federal, the state and the local governments but most importantly, to keep all exhibitors, visitors, partners and colleagues safe.
UFI, the global association for the exhibition industry, has welcomed the German government move.
North Rhine-Westphalia has decided that it intends to allow topical (i.e. B2B) trade shows and congresses to run from May 30 if (yet to be specified) conditions are met.
“We are advocating that not all types of events are equal, and it is encouraging to see that this message has reached the government of one of the world’s most important exhibition markets,” Mary Larkin, UFI president, said.
“Every exhibition is an organized event – as an industry, we know how to create conditions where attendees can go about their business while taking the necessary precautions in the age of COVID19.”
Last week, UFI published a “Global Framework guidance for the safe reopening of exhibitions and B2B trade events.” Created with a global task force representing all parts of the exhibitions ecosystem, the document delivers the guidance towards both political decision makers and health authorities about how the industry can provide a safe environment in the age if COVID-19.
Globally the exhibition sector generates €68.7bn ($81.1bn) in direct GDP and contributes a total economic impact of €275bn ($325bn). This ranks the sector as the 56th largest economy in the world, larger than those of countries such as Hungary, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, and Ecuador.
While there are no guarantees of events kicking off immediately, Koelnmesse said it is looking forward with optimism to September and October when it hopes to stage events such as spoga+gafa, spoga horse, Kind & Jugend, Organtec, Yummex and other fall events.
Many events were either cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic in Germany. Interpack, which was to have been held in May in Dusseldorf, has now been rescheduled to March 2021. Food Ingredients Europe is still scheduled to run in December 2020 in Frankfurt.
Another large event in the industry set for October, SIAL, which takes place in Paris, is also expected to take place.
Organizers of the event said, “We believe that it will be an important moment for the industry to reconnect and to share about the present and future challenges.”