Paris / Atlanta – February 19: Around the world, societies and businesses are dealing with the consequences of the current outbreak of COVID-19.
Our sympathies lie with everyone dealing with symptoms of this new type of virus, and we wish them a speedy recovery. We are sorry for the loss in families where individuals have died from the virus.
At the same time, we are encouraged to see that ever more people are reportedly leaving hospitals in China again, having overcome the infection, and are leaving quarantine in China and elsewhere.
Health concerns have to come first in times like this, and successful health support is embedded into the functions of economies.
We are all well advised to keep this fact in mind. As societies as well as businesses, we will overcome this outbreak more easily if we stay rational and focused.
As leaders of the exhibitions and events industry, we strive to do just that.
This is why we support our colleagues in China, where venues are closed to contain the outbreak, in any suitable way we can.
And this is why we keep exhibitions and events going around the world, implementing advice from global health authorities like the World Health Organisation as well as the national and local authorities.
Based on their assessments, canceling exhibitions in Europe, in the Americas, in the Middle East and in major parts of Asia is currently premature. Clear guidance is given on health measures before, during, and after events take place.
Cancelling exhibitions right now actually damages the path to recovery after this outbreak, and it inflicts additional harm: Exhibitions and events are essential to millions of businesses around the world. Taking them away will cause severe economic impacts to these customers and regions.
It is every company’s decision whether or not they wish to exhibit at events right now, and we call on the organisers of events to be accommodating to companies who decide not to exhibit just now. But it is just as well every company’s decision to come to the show floor, to seek to meet with industry peers, to drive the exchange about how and to what degree their respective industries are impacted by COVID-19, and to secure the successful future for their businesses.
We stand with them, and with their communities. Jointly, we will overcome this outbreak. And then, we will do our part to support the exhibition industry in China and beyond as they bounce back from this difficult time.