Novel Coronavirus Impact on Global Exhibition Industry

Paris, 20 March – UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, is today releasing updated
global numbers that reflect the impact that trade show postponements and cancellations are having for
both the exhibiting companies as well as for the trade show industry around the world.
Based on UFI data, the orders that exhibiting companies will not secure will add up to €134.2 billion
(USD 144.9 billion) globally, projecting to the end of the second quarter of 2020. This is an increase of
almost 5 times the figure reported last week (€23 billion) which took into account cancellations only up
to the end of the current quarter.
“Right now, the marketplaces that industries rely on to trade are closed around the world. This is
unprecedented. Mass closures of events in relation to COVID-19 have now also reached North and
South America, meaning the entire global exhibitions and events industry is grinding to a halt”, says
Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director / CEO.
Related to the exhibition industry, €81.6 billion (USD 88.2 billion) of total economic output will not be
generated by the end of Q2. Broken down into regions, the respective total economic impact that will
not be generated is:
– €21.8 billion (USD 23.6 billion) and 378,000 FTE jobs for Asia/Pacific,
– €28.8 billion (USD 31.1 billion) and 257,000 FTE jobs for Europe,
– €29.2 billion (USD 31.6 billion) and 320,000 FTE jobs for North America.
The backbone of the exhibitions industry are many micro and small enterprises, and the lack of
business is putting these at immediate risk of bankruptcy. As the industry’s global trade association,
UFI is working with many national associations to help secure government and regional support for the
companies that are badly affected. From Hong Kong to Denmark, there have been several examples
already of economic relief for our industry. “We call on every government to secure the future of our
sector through imminent subsidy and credit programmes. Their investments now will pay off extremely
well. We will build and operate the marketplaces and meeting places for all the sectors and industries
to meet and do business after the pandemic – our industry provides the fastest of all fast tracks to any
economic recovery”, says Hattendorf.
No stranger to adaptation, exhibition venues around the world are meanwhile offering their support to
the respective health sectors. “Many of our members are supporting the emergency response to the
crisis in their respective cities, building temporary shelters and installing beds in case local hospitals
are unable to cope with demand. It is always humbling to see how our industry comes together in
difficult times”, says Hattendorf.

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