Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2020 - Page 18

Cover story Cover Story: Covid-19 UFI global assessment of economic impact of Covid-19 The headlines from UFI’s mid-March update report of the economic impact of Covid-19 on our sector showed that €134bn (US$145bn) of contracts were not concluded due to events not taking place as planned through Q2 2020. UFI noted also that €81.6bn of total economic output would not now be generated related to the exhibition industry by the end of Q2. The €134.2bn worth of orders not secured at shows to the end of the second quarter of 2020 represents an increase of almost five times the figure reported by UFI in its earlier report (€23bn), which took into account cancellations only up to the end of the Q1. “Right now, the marketplaces that industries rely on to trade are closed around the world. This is unprecedented…the entire global exhibitions and events industry is grinding to a halt,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director/CEO. The €81.6bn of total economic output not generated by the end of Q2 has been broken down into regions. The total economic impact that will not now be generated is, respectively: - €21.8bn and 378,000 FTE jobs for Asia/Pacific - €28.8bn and 257,000 FTE jobs for Europe - €29.2bn and 320,000 FTE jobs for North America. “We call on every government to secure the future of our sector through imminent subsidy and credit programmes. Their investments now will pay off extremely well. We will build and operate the marketplaces and meeting places for all the sectors and industries to meet and do business after the pandemic - our industry 18 Issue 2 2020 provides the fastest of all fast tracks to any economic recovery,” said Kai Hattendorf (and you can read more from Kai on this on p.10). A survey from the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES) backed up the UFI data, claiming that Covid-19 had put at risk nearly 250,000 jobs in the exhibition stand construction sector throughout Europe. IFES said 300 of its members were projected to lose approximately 50% of their annual revenue. Many of these stand contractors are SMEs and “fall through the ranks when it comes to system relevance,” said Torsten Heinze, Vice-Chair of IFES. In some European countries, measures such as short-time work compensation and state bank guarantees for loans have created opportunities to bridge liquidity bottlenecks. Nevertheless, company debt continues to grow and many will become insolvent if help is not offered. “Tradefairs without tradefair construction - that doesn’t exist,” was how IFES MD Uta Goretzky reacted. Lost revenues On the tradeshow organiser side, US$318m in revenue was lost in the US by 15 March, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). By that date, CEIR calculated that 50 B2B events had announced their cancellations. That was equivalent, the association reckoned, to a total loss of 5.2 million NSF and $318m in show organiser revenue. Taking into account direct spending of exhibitors and attendees, the loss to the US economy by mid-March stood at $1.8bn. In Australia, The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) said the country was losing AUD$2.5bn per month in cancelled business events. BECA reminded the sector’s input to the wider economy was AUD$30bn a year and it employed more than 193,000 people. What is to be done? eschedule rather than cancel Many organisers and venues have been working hard to save events by rescheduling and postponing rather than cancelling outright. The roll call of postponed major events is long but examples include: Clarion Events Africa’s Africa Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa, due to have run in May, and which are now booked in 24-26 November 2020, at the same venue - CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa. African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa attract over 10,000 people from more than 90 countries and is the largest energy show on the continent. 2020 marks its 20th anniversary. “The health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, employees and the wider public is of paramount importance to us,” said Clarion Events Africa MD David Ashdown in an organiser statement all too typical of the times. Media 10, organisers of the world’s longest running exhibition (110 years), the UK’s Ideal Home Show, were still looking for new dates as we went to w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk