Exhibition organisers have welcomed the announcement by prime minister Boris Johnson that indoor events for up to 1,000 people will be permitted from 17 May. One organiser, Diversified Business Communications, has reported that 88% of visitors to one its shows are likely to return in person when it runs next in the autumn.
From next Monday, indoor events for up 1,000 people or 50% venue capacity, not including staff, contractors or exhibitors, will reopen in England. Outdoor events for up to 4,000 (or 50% capacity) may also resume, and special dispensation will be given to seated stadiums.
Carsten Holm (pictured), MD at Diversified Business Communications told EN that the “fantastic” news has given the exhibitions industry much needed confidence.
“The reaction we have had from both exhibitors and visitors when we announced the return of several of our events this autumn, has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said.
“People are frankly desperate to get back together. A survey we did for one of our events, showed that 88% of visitors to the last edition [in 2019] were either ‘Definitely’ or ‘Very Likely’ to attend the show this autumn, with only 12% saying they were ‘Unlikely’ due to health and safety concerns.
“That’s incredibly positive and surely a figure which can only improve between now and the autumn.”
Holm noted that his business was seeing “webinar fatigue” across the sectors they serve but added that digital technology will play a part in his product offering going forwards.
“I have little doubt that the pandemic has proved that there is no substitute for live, face-to- face events,” Holm added. “So, while there will continue to be challenges as we emerge from the darkest year in the history of our industry, our sector will emerge stronger than ever.”