The UK Prime minister has just confirmed that conferences and exhibitions will be permitted in England from 1st October, though adding that the decision would depend on data and that local authorities would have powers to close events if there was a danger, as reported the industry publication Conference and Meetings Week.
Answering a question from the FT about people returning to work, prime minister Johnson defended face-to-face interaction: “We have learnt a lot of lessons during this crisis, about the potential of technology, but I think there are also limits to this technology and is no substitute for face-to-face meetings and interactions.”
Simon Hughes, chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership expressed his satisfaction: “After months of lobbying, and providing significant amounts of evidence and research to government, and working closely in partnership with our colleagues at DCMS (Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports), we are delighted that today the prime minister has finally announced a Go Date of 1 October for the recommencement of business events and exhibitions, subject to the successful completion of some pilot events.” In an example of the collaboration we need between our industry and public authorities, this industry association will be working with DCMS to ensure a successful outcome of the pilot scheme.
Lobbying also steps up in France. A group of 6 associations (Coésio, Créalians, LÉVÉNEMENT, SYNPASE, Traiteurs de France and UNIMEV), recently asked Prime Minister to give a clear signal for the resumption of major professional events, thus allowing rebirth of the country's economy. "Allow us to accompany the economic recovery," they ask, demanding that the rules allow a return to activity in a key sector for the economic and scientific development of the country.
These associations highlight that the signs are here to allow the resumption of event activity, and that President Emmanuel Macron has made the country's economic recovery a priority, adding that professional and sports events are drivers for growth. “To regain their activity, economic and social actors must plan for the future, reconnect with their communities of customers, prospects and partners, mobilize their employees, fill their order books... and professional events are the most useful tool for these purposes”.
They remind us key facts about our industry:
- Fairs and events can offer exhibitors a return on investment of 8 euros per euro invested.
- International trade shows allow companies to obtain 1/3 of their turnover from exports. Furthermore, they are the only way that many small or medium-sized companies gain access to foreign markets and highlight their innovations.
- Corporate events offer their participants mobilization, knowledge and project sharing, commitment, brand awareness and sales activation.
- Congresses are spaces for discovery and training, promoting the dissemination of progress and the transformation of society.
Another very important dimension is that they underline the responsibility of a sector that has nothing to do with uncontrolled parties: "As professionals, they master the management of the flow of people and know how to manage them to ensure that events are carried out in the best conditions of security".
These industry associations have led a series of initiatives to raise awareness on the value of events. One example we recently published is this conference. And recently in Germany, the event associations have also recently launched an impressive action, turning 9,000 buildings across the country red.