Dubai is seen as the safest location to host international exhibitions and conferences in the coming months, while trade fairs will play a critical role in a post-covid ‘restart’, according to new research.
A recent market survey of more than 4,000 professionals from 130 countries explored the impact of covid-19 on the global exhibitions industry, delving into key areas such as travel, budgets, and the importance of trade fairs in a post-pandemic world.
The study covered a wide range of industry sectors from the auto aftermarket and commercial security to beauty and cosmetics, showing that 77 percent of respondents viewed Dubai and Germany (41 percent of respondents), as the safest destinations to attend exhibitions post covid-19.
Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) agreed that as the novel coronavirus recedes and a semblance of normality returns, exhibitions will be more important for business (31 percent), or just as important (38 percent), compared to the past. A further 64 percent plan to attend exhibitions in the next eight months, while 36 percent have been given the green light to do so before the end of this year.
The July 2020 ‘Exhibitions post covid-19’ survey was commissioned by Messe Frankfurt Middle East (MFME), one of the region’s largest trade fair organisers with major events such as Automechanika Dubai, Intersec, and Beautyworld Middle East among its portfolio of more than 16 exhibitions and conferences.
It arrives as the UAE continues to inject confidence back into its economy; last month, international travellers were welcomed to the country for the first time in nearly four months, while on July 16, the Dubai World Trade Centre hosted the AI Everything conference, the first ‘real life’ event at the venue since March.
“As with many business sectors, the trade fair industry felt the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, particularly in Dubai, which has a thriving exhibition sector at the Dubai World Trade Centre,” said Simon Mellor, Messe Frankfurt Middle East’s CEO.
“The purpose of the ‘Exhibitions post covid-19’ study was to investigate how this global virus affected businesses of MFME stakeholders, and how we can address their concerns collaboratively with our peers. We will continue to run the survey over the course of the year and look to engage more parties as it evolves over time.”
Added Mr. Mellor: “The good news for the exhibitions industry is it’s still a critical component for business success, as this research has indicated. Clearly there is an appetite for the events sector to pick up in Dubai, with this evident during the AI Everything conference at DWTC, which marked the return of physical events in Dubai.
“Globally, Messe Frankfurt has ‘restarted’ exhibitions with the opening of Intertextile Shenzhen Apparel Fabrics on 15 July 2020 in China, and we’re on track to deliver two of our most important shows in Dubai. These will take place with stringent health and safety measures to help keep our attendees safe.”
International travel dependent on lifting of restrictions
While 77 percent of the survey respondents indicated they may travel abroad for business by the end of 2020, much of this figure (50 percent) depends on the lifting of international travel restrictions. Half who said they could travel abroad before the end of the year, pending government rules and recommendations, said they would do so by airplane.
Encouragingly, nearly 62 percent would attend exhibitions at their ‘home country’ and abroad, however 25 percent would only attend an event ‘at home’, perceiving reduced travel as better for their health and safety.
Messe Frankfurt Middle East’s ‘Exhibitions post covid-19’ survey can be downloaded on the organiser’s website. The Dubai-based subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, the world’s third largest trade fair organiser, is also on schedule to open two of its most important events in Dubai toward the end of the year and early 2021.
Beautyworld Middle East 2020, the region’s largest beauty and wellbeing exhibition, and Intersec 2021, the world’s foremost security, safety, and fire protection trade fair, will take place from 23-25 November 2020 and 24-26 January 2021 respectively at DWTC.
This Show Is Open
MFME has also backed a global campaign supporting the exhibitions and events industry, adopting the ‘This Show Is Open’ (TSIO) slogan launched by Paris based UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, and Atlanta based SISO, The Society of Independent Show Organizers.
It supports exhibition organisers around the world as they put the industry’s full experience to the task of keeping events going wherever possible, in line with the guidance of health authorities and the interests of their customers.
Messe Frankfurt Middle East currently organises 16 trade fairs, 11 of which take place in Dubai UAE, and five in Saudi Arabia. Its exhibitions in 2019 together featured 6,282 exhibitors from 68 countries, and attracted 150,545 visitors from 156 countries. The company’s 12 conferences in the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia in 2019 also together hosting 321 speakers, and 3,668 delegates.