Rebuilding the Economy with Exhibitions Industry: Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, Informa Markets India
With Unlock 1.0, and the gradual but steady re-opening of businesses, the re-start of the exhibitions industry is also necessary not only as it directly and indirectly contributes to the economy on its own writes Yogesh Mudras.
For all of us at the exhibitions industry, it is our job and joy to celebrate the Global Exhibitions Day, the industry’s largest day of awareness and advocacy, held annually on the first Wednesday of June. Through the years, we have commemorated our success stories, our united stand as an industry that acts as a catalyst for economic growth, championed the cause of being accorded industry status, and so much more.
This year, in so many ways, GED is that much more special, critical and challenging. The Covid-19 pandemic has cast its shadow of disease, chaos, unemployment and suffering, leading to a global economic meltdown. However, it is in times of crisis that our badly hit industry can prove its mettle and live up to its role of helping businesses and economies to recover and spring back to its original path. It is the start of a new decade, and an opportunity for our industry to seek solutions, insights, and innovations to kick start businesses through exhibitions, Face-to-Face meetings and the magic that it all creates. With Unlock 1.0, and the gradual but steady re-opening of businesses, the re-start of the exhibitions industry is also necessary not only as it directly and indirectly contributes to the economy on its own. It further propels other industries through trade, knowledge sharing and networking.
The Covid-19 situation has served up case studies of success as well as failures on how to manage our lives and livelihoods around it. Similarly, in case of Unlock 1.0, we can learn from nations such as Germany, China and Korea, among others on how to promote exhibitions as ‘Organized Gatherings’ rather than ‘Mass Gatherings’. For years, as an industry, we have created conditions where attendees can go about their businesses and invested in H&S (Health and Safety) measures, from training the staffs and vendors to providing H&S facilities to attendees. Without these, it wouldn't have been possible to organise shows of such mammoth scales. Even considering the demands of the new normal, the industry through its global association UFI is also planning an elaborate framework of bio-safe rules taking in pre-planning and post-show tactics which focuses on ensuring personnel and personal safety, enabling physical distancing in a variety of ways such as floor design and inclusion of barriers, and increasing health and safety measures through tools such as screenings, crowd control techniques and establishing enforcement protocols. Companies and geographies as per their market demographics can customize these to trace, monitor and track attendees for safety.
Even at a time, when we couldn’t function, and the exhibitions industry was characterized by a series of show cancellations and postponements, we continued our endeavor of staying connected to industry communities, and developed a plethora of digital assets including virtual expos to enable them to meet their business needs. Given the encourage feedback we have got from these, one can’t help but imagine that revenge organised gathering might actually be on its way to becoming a trend by 2021. With the zeal that industry stakeholders have for exhibitions, It could shape up quite like revenge spending -- overindulgence in retail therapy by customers who have missed not being able to shop during lockdown. So, for now, the time is ripe for us to be able to serve the industry and help rebuilding the economy with all the resources we have.
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