Global industry associations UFI* and SISO* have issued a joint statement advising organisers in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and in major parts of Asia not to cancel events because of the coronavirus.
A joint spokesman for the organisers said: “Based on their assessments (World Health Organisation), canceling exhibitions in Europe, in the Americas, in the Middle East and in major parts of Asia is currently premature. Clear guidance is given on health measures before, during, and after events take place.
“Cancelling exhibitions right now actually damages the path to recovery after this outbreak, and it inflicts additional harm: exhibitions and events are essential to millions of businesses around the world. Taking them away will cause severe economic impacts to these customers and regions.
“It is every company’s decision whether or not they wish to exhibit at events right now, and we call on the organisers of events to be accommodating to companies who decide not to exhibit just now. But it is just as well every company’s decision 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 businesses.”
Both organisations also expressed their sympathies for everyone dealing with the symptoms of the new virus, but were encouraged by the number of people having overcome the infections in Chinese hospitals.
The spokesman added: “We stand with them, and with their communities. Jointly, we will overcome this outbreak. And then, we will do our part to support the exhibition industry in China and beyond as they bounce back from this difficult time.”
*UFI is the global association for the exhibition industry and SISO is the Society of Independent Show Organisers.
Pictured above: David Audrain and Kai Hattendorf, CEOs of SISO and UFI.