29.11.2021 – 11:48
FAMA Association of Trade Fairs and Exhibitions eV
FAMA trade fair conference Freiburg (ots)
- The German trade fair industry is facing profound transformation
- Half-life of political decisions and specifications in criticism
- Regulations of the special fund for trade fairs and exhibitions fall short
Trade fairs in Germany are used to success. But the successful model is facing a profound transformation – and not just since the pandemic. New digital formats and business models are in demand. And not only that: There is also a high need for investment in the site infrastructure in the construction of facilities that are multifunctional and focus on quality instead of overdimensioned quantities. The financial framework required for this is considerable and can perhaps only be achieved through the involvement of private investors. And one more thing: German trade fair companies are increasingly losing market shares in the global trade fair business – a development that has been observed for a good ten years and is only exacerbated by the pandemic.
The inventory that Jochen Witt undertook at the start of the FAMA trade fair conference was anything but light fare for a trade fair industry that is used to success. Witt, once CEO of Köln Messe and for many years Chairman and President of the World Trade Fair Association (UFI), knows what he’s talking about. His consulting office “jwc” has been advising international trade fair companies around the globe since 2008.
German trade fair companies are losing market share in international business
Just a few weeks ago, the Cologne-based consulting firm presented an extensive market analysis in the ranking of the 40 trade fair companies with the highest turnover worldwide. If you read it, you will also find German companies in it, but not always where they are actually expected consistently – in the global top group. There, financially strong companies and exhibition locations such as China rank very high – a country that now has the largest exhibition center in the world and is currently setting the pace for the restart.
Accordingly, Witt expects that China will have reached the pre-pandemic level in the event business again by 2022 and that the extremely dynamic development will continue in an international comparison: “Every international event that does not take place in Germany harbors the risk of to accelerate growth elsewhere. For several years now we have been observing the trend that so-called No. 1 trade fairs no longer necessarily take place at locations in Germany and Europe. ” Against this background, the concept of the so-called “world’s leading trade fair” is largely obsolete because it formulates a claim that says more about the euro-centered sender than about the actual presence of the global community.
Regional trade fairs are experiencing a renaissance
On the other hand, the number of regional specialist and public trade fairs is increasing sharply and is increasingly experiencing a renaissance – and not just since the pandemic, which led to restrictive travel behavior. Rather, the reason for this is a return to the region as a regional living environment and identity-forming space, as Roger Spindler emphasized. He spoke of the “progressive province” as a dimension of lived life, which in the course of “re-urbanization” would become a meaningful unit in which people find themselves in the face of global challenges – not as a place of refuge, but as a creative freedom. An example of this is the OLMA Messe St. Gallen, which was presented by director Christine Bolt as a cross-generational model of success.
Criticism of short half-life of political decisions and guidelines
There were clear words about the current political decisions and guidelines, which have continued their “journey on sight” for over 18 months: “Today we are where we were a year ago – with our backs to the wall and a perspective in front of our eyes, which again does not provide any planning security over a longer period of time “, says the FAMA executive chairman Henning Könicke the current situation and the mood of the trade fair industry in a nutshell:” It is already becoming apparent that the entry into force of the new regulations governing trade fairs in The Free State of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg provide for a 2G plus certificate, which makes it almost impossible to hold events. ” He reacted with incomprehension to the fact that a 2G plus certificate was required for trade fairs with aisle widths of up to six meters, while politicians considered a 3G standard with a few random samples to be sufficient for the ten million passengers in local public transport every day.
Failure funds from the federal and state governments do not go far enough
The recently decided “SOMA” special fund, which, as a “special federal fund for trade fairs and exhibitions”, is intended to reduce the risks for organizers in the event of a cancellation, met with a mixed response in Freiburg. The Federal Ministry of Economics is making a total of 600 million available for this. This covers up to 80 percent of the damage resulting from a possible event ban, for example for rental and leasing costs, for the use of goods and service providers or for personnel, marketing and communication – but only up to a limit of eight million euros per individual case.
“This is an important signal from politics, even if we would have liked this initiative last year, when some events were officially banned a few days before the start and the companies concerned were left empty-handed,” said Könicke.
However, SOMA only offers limited planning security, as the aids can only be accessed in the event of an official ban on events – but not in the event of conditions such as a 2G plus regulation, which de facto makes it impossible to hold a trade fair.
The minimization of risk for the exhibiting industry, which is an advance payment and needs reliable rules for this, is in no way cushioned by SOMA. “Trade fairs are based on trust. And anyone who cannot assess which rules will apply in four weeks’ time will not have this trust,” says Könicke.
Original content from: FAMA Trade Association for Trade Fairs and Exhibitions eV, transmitted by news aktuell