Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2020 - Page 20

Cover story Industry support and funding Denmark was one of the first countries where government stepped up to the plate to provide compensation (€12m) for event cancellations. The European Commission gave its approval quickly in early March for the €12m state aid programme put forward by the Danes. The scheme will compensate damages caused by cancellations of large public events due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The scheme applies to events for more than 1,000 participants and which were cancelled due to the Covid-19. This was the first state aid measure notified by an EU member state to the Commission in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak. EEIA lobbies EU for support A web conference with representatives of the EU was organised by the European Exhibition Industry Alliance (EEIA), Brussels on 17 March. A hundred representatives of European exhibition organisers and service providers took part. Eric Philippart, senior expert of the Directorate-General Grow asked participants in the discussion to suggest how companies in the exhibition business affected by the corona crisis could be helped better. “Loans alone will not be enough,” explained Barbara Weizsäcker, General Secretary of the EEIA, and reiterated the demand for an EU emergency fund. “The exhibition industry 20 Issue 2 2020 must fight to avoid shrinking so that it can help business recover,” Weizsäcker added. The EEIA is an alliance of the European UFI members and the European Major Exhibition Centres Association (Emeca). All members were requested to intensify lobbying at the national level to obtain access to funds and tailored measures to be implemented quickly. German support programme welcomed by AUMA The German government has agreed an emergency relief programme to reduce the corona-induced economic consequences for freelancers and small businesses who will be able to receive financial benefits directly under the plan. German national tradefair industry association AUMA’s Managing Director Jörn Holtmeier welcomed the news on 25 March and said tradefairs would need to play a crucial role after the corona-crisis. AUMA said the government programme would assist numerous players of the tradefair industry: small organisers with one or two tradefairs annually, specialist service providers like those working in creative jobs, skilled crafts and trades or freelance contractors. Additionally, event and conference organisers or small catering companies are set to benefit, too. Holtmeier said: “Tradefairs are complex eco-systems, which only work if many partners of different sizes are co-operating. If, after the coronavirus crisis, the economy shall get started again, platforms like tradefairs will become necessary in order to rebuild trust and strengthen business relationships through personal contact. Therefore, the tradefair industry will need all partners again – with their usual quality and creativeness. In order to maintain this network of partners the programme for small businesses arrives just in time.” UK Chancellor announces £330bn of loans Evidence of how quickly the coronavirus threat moved in the UK is illustrated by an announcement on 12 March by the UK government saying it wasn’t advising a ban on events, yet within 12 days the country was in virtual lockdown and the Chancellor had announced £330bn of loans to support business. Gatherings in the UK of more than two people at a time were banned on 24 March. Support for freelancers was also subsequently announced. Association initiative AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres and UFI, have made their recently developed Guide to Good Practices for the management of Covid-19 health and operational challenges, available to all industry members. The Guide is a support resource for developing better management strategies. “Our top priority at the moment is the containment of the Covid-19 outbreak, and that means anything any of us can do to enhance that effort is a collective responsibility,” a statement by the associations said. The 27-page document incorporates advice, suggestions, examples, and tips focusing in particular on new, updated and modified information as opposed to simply pre-existing, standard health and safety controls and crisis management measures. The document incorporates updated convention and exhibition centre health and safety policies and was assembled with the support of AIPC and UFI members. The text also includes ‘live’ document links to allow additional information to be accessed directly. “This Guide was developed as a tool for our respective members for management of the Covid-19 outbreak in the context of their venues; however, early feedback has made us realise that there are many elements of its content that apply to other aspects of the overall event equation,” said AIPC President Aloysius Arlando. “We have therefore decided to make it generally available to anyone in the industry that may find it of use.” “The top priority at the moment for all of us is the containment of the Covid-19 outbreak, and that means anything any of us can do to enhance that effort is a collective responsibility,” said UFI President Mary Larkin. “Wherever we can share relevant resources, we will continue to do so.” The Guide can be downloaded free of charge at www.aipc.org or the UFI website. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk