Trade fairs need a clear timetable
The trade fair industry expects from the government a clear prospect of restarting trade fairs, which mirror the economic situation. However, under the influence of the coronovirus crisis and government restrictions, the situation is not good at all. Trade fairs are a business platform that will be important for restarting the economy by presenting innovations, new technologies and products and for new orders.
Trade fairs provide important impetus to stimulate an economy that has been hit hard by crisis measures. They are platforms for the presentation of innovations, increasing productivity, exports and for negotiating cooperation, especially for small and medium-sized companies. "Trade fairs are important trading platforms, they are necessary for the fast and sustainable functioning of the economy and will be needed especially now for the restart of damaged industry," emphasizes Vladimír Dlouhý, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce. "The MSV Engineering Fair in Brno should be a signal for the recovery of damaged industry and economy," says Dagmar Kuchtová, General Director of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic.
According to foreign examples, an adequate system for the necessary protection of the health of all participants can be created at exhibition grounds, as exhibition halls are universally applicable for various types of events and have appropriate technical equipment. In Germany in the most federal states, trade fairs have been given a green light since the end of May. The first fairs were held in China already. The EU governments including the Czech government recently announced reopening of national borders in mid-June.
The organizers draw attention to the opening of shopping centers and hobby markets and discrimination in the trade fair industry, as trade fairs have in many ways more sophisticated logistics of the movement and distribution of people. "After the opening of shopping centers, we see no reason why trade fairs could not start. Hobby markets were opened with reference to the high ceilings, but the standard exhibition pavilions are 12 meters high, which is much more than in the case of hobby markets. Each trade fair differs from case to case. We are ready to set the conditions for each individual event," adds Jaroslav Bílek, spokesman for the Brno Trade Fairs.
The professional association of the trade fair industry SOVA ČR has previously pointed out that the trade fairs are not yet in any phase of easing. In a letter addressed to epidemiologists and government, it pointed to the fact that the daily frequency of visitors to trade fairs is well below the number of visitors to shopping centers with an area of over 5,000 sqm. The number of visitors to shopping centers is up to 40,000 people a day. At the same time, SOVA CR warned that the losses of trade fair companies and their suppliers are huge, in the order of many hundreds of millions of crowns. If the timetable for the resumption of trade fairs is not known, losses will increase every day. "Unfortunately, noone takes the trade fair sector as a whole seriously. So far, we have not received comments from the expert group or government officials on our proposals and comments. The date of the renewal of trade fairs is a key factor for the organizers, but especially for the exhibiting companies," emphasizes Tomáš Kotrč, chairman of the association.
"We need a clear signal that the fairs can be launched again in the second half of September. There are no fairs on the program until August. However, trade fairs cannot be prepared overnight, they have a delivery time of three to five months. Exhibitors often prepare exhibits for several months, therefore we expect easing of trade events within a short period of time,“ emphasizes Jiří Kuliš, CEO of Trade Fairs Brno.
"It is impossible to compare the international industrial B2B fairs with the canceled farm show Země živitelka, an event, which is attended by the general farming public at an exhibition center of completely different parameters," adds Bílek in response to the cancellation of the Czech farm show exhibition planned for the end of August.
In addition to exhibitors, the regional economy, including hotels and restaurants, retailers, transporters and craftsmen, who technically ensure the construction of exhibits, urgently needs impulses from trade fairs. These are mainly the service segments most affected by the crisis. "The impact of trade fairs on the urban and regional economy is very significant. The MSV event is absolutely crucial for Brno. Almost two thousand jobs are linked to Trade Fairs Brno,“ notes the mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková.