COVID: Trade shows, exhibitions hit across all sectors

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Over 400 Events Cancelled Or Deferred Globally Till July; Next 3-4 Months Seem Unsure As Well

International trade fairs are important events for professionals and visitors alike to meet up, discuss the latest developments and products, and strike a few key deals. But everything has to change when a pandemic strikes.

By any estimation, an approximate 400 exhibitions and trade shows across the world till July have been cancelled or deferred in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. Glass exhibitions, too, are no different. The coronavirus outbreak triggered lockdowns in countries across the world and social distancing norms became mandatory. With businesses downing shutters and governments banning travel and gatherings of all sorts, the tourism, hospitality and trade and exhibition sectors were among the first to be hit. Some of the major glass industry exhibitions cancelled or deferred so far include the China Glass in Shanghai, China, Fensterbau Frontale in Nuremberg, Germany, Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China, and Glasspro in Delhi, India. All major airlines grounded, visas cancelled and countries under lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19, exhibition organisers prepare themselves to adapt to a new reality with the realisation that events would not be possible for at least the next three-four months. One of the main benefits of meetings and conferences is that these let professionals meet face-toface. However, when that very benefit brings along a potential health risk, alternatives are to be explored. Virtual meetings are a great opportunity for planners, regardless of whether they’re in response to the coronavirus, and offer an even more appealing alternative now that many countries have imposed travel restrictions. Live-streaming or offering remote attendance can offer a great experience if carefully planned and executed properly. If effectively managed, virtual meetings can let events go on without inviting any risk. Future of trade shows Perhaps it is time to look at the concept of ‘Big Tech Conference’. Because sometimes, at the end of a convention, a thought occurs: Was travel necessary for that information? Webinars that allow full video, presentations, sound and recording Event playback, Q&A sessions can be a potential way forward. Technology demonstrations, particularly software, can be done with ease. And webinars would let entire teams, including junior members, participate. With the financial toll of the pandemic already slowing down economies, cutting costs of travel, lodging and other miscellaneous expenses by moving to the digital platforms will be something to seriously think about.

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