AUMA: Reopening of German exhibitions could begin with model projects at regional level
The exhibition industry in Europe is starting to get off the ground or at least gaining opening prospects, for example in Spain, Great Britain and the Netherlands – but not in Germany. In Spain, a first national trade fair has taken place in Madrid under state-defined framework conditions. In Great Britain, an opening perspective towards June has been defined and in the Netherlands model projects started in the area of congresses and other event formats, also with the aim of defining corresponding standards for exhibitions on the basis of the experience gained.
In Germany, on the other hand, neither the individual federal states nor the Conference of Prime Ministers, which meets regularly, have so far dealt with the reopening prospects of exhibitions after the exhibition industry was sent into its second still ongoing lockdown at the end of October 2020. Jörn Holtmeier, Managing Director of AUMA – the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, commented: “It is high time that German politicians seriously deal with how Europe’s largest exhibition industry, which organises most of the world’s leading events, should get back on track. Many of these trade fairs are world-renowned brands, often far beyond the industry communities. This position and the resulting high importance for the German and international economy must not be put at risk by a virtually unlimited lockdown for the exhibition industry.”
Treat trade fairs and retail equally
Trade fairs with participants from all over the world can certainly not take place in the next few weeks, if only because of the numerous international travel restrictions.
“But we must now start to rebuild confidence in a safe and successful exhibition organisation,” said the AUMA managing director. Regional and national trade fairs are the ideal starting point for this. They have a manageable catchment area and can therefore be included in the model projects that have already been launched in some German federal states. In this way, experience can already be gathered in the second quarter and send a signal for the second half of the year.
Holtmeier: “If model projects are possible in retail outside the food sector, this must also apply to suited exhibitions. In the retail sector, there are millions of customer contacts every day without a relevant influence on infection figures. Why should it be any different in the exhibition industry, which has comprehensive health protection concepts defined by the federal states and in normal times has about as many visitors per year as the retail sector has per day?”