Coronavirus and Meetings
to see Northstar Meetings Group’s comprehensive and continuing coverage of how coronavirus is affecting meetings.
As the spread of the COVID-19 illness has led to the cancellation or postponement of a number of trade shows and events, industry organizations are taking steps to help support those exhibition organizers working to keep their events going. The Society of Independent Show Organizers and UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, have launched "This Show Is Open," a campaign aimed at helping their members make the case to follow through with event plans, while following the guidance of health authorities and the interests of their customers.
As part of the initiative, UFI and SISO will provide materials, downloadable at www.supportingevents.org, that highlight the value of trade shows and reinforce the fact that many shows are taking place successfully around the world — despite the negative headlines to the contrary. Visuals available for download, in multiple languages, include web and email banners, posters and flyers featuring the slogan "This Show Is Open for Business."
"Exhibitions and events are essential to millions of businesses around the world," said Mary Larkin, president of UFI. "They exist to provide platforms for people and industries to meet, to trade and to collaborate. Small and medium businesses in particular, in all industries, depend on exhibitions. And, as do all types of events, they support the economy worldwide."
The campaign emphasizes how exhibitions are core elements for driving both industries and economies — and that they are among the most convincing and resilient economic tools.
"Exhibitions and events are especially important in times of disruption," explained Clarion UX and Leftfield Media CEO Greg Topalian, who is SISO chair. "We stand to fulfill our obligation to maintain opportunities for people to meet wherever possible. As part of the exhibitions industry, we are committed to keeping our exhibitions and events going around the world wherever we can do so."
"We have one simple message here," said UFI CEO Kai Hattendorf and SISO executive director David Audrain in a joint statement. "As an industry, we strive to make it possible for every company 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 business."
Both UFI and SISO are inviting other associations serving the wider meetings industry to join in the campaign and fuel awareness.