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, one of the region’s largest trade fair organizers 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 travelers 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,” says 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.”
Mellor adds, “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 July 15 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 organizer’s website. The Dubai-based subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, the world’s third largest trade fair organizer, 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 well-being exhibition, and Intersec 2021, the world’s foremost security, safety, and fire protection trade fair, will take place from Nov. 23-25, 2020 and Jan. 24-26, 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 organizers 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 organizes 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.
For more info, visit www.messefrankfurtme.com
Dubai Issues Guidelines for Hosting Business Events Safely
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has issued official guidelines on how business events can take place safely as the city prepares to resume its calendar of conferences, meetings and exhibitions. With locally organized meetings taking place from Sept. 15 and international meetings returning to the city from Oct. 1, the guidelines focus on protecting the health and safety of all participants, including delegates and staff, while ensuring they are able to host and experience impactful meetings that meet the needs of all stakeholders involved. Key measures venues and organizers must implement include social distancing, temperature checks, the safe dispensation of F&B and regular sanitization of facilities.
Along with procedures already in place at the airport, hotels, restaurants, attractions and other visitor touchpoints around the city, the guidelines allow Dubai to be at the forefront of the global recovery of the business events sector, with a number of important conferences and tradeshows already scheduled over the coming months.