In a recent survey, ‘Exhibitions Post Covid-19’ conducted by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, many interesting facts and projections came to light. Eventprofs ranging from organisers, exhibitors, vendors, attendees and other key stakeholders which are part of the global M.I.C.E (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) Industry participated.

Few prominent findings are being listed below:

  1. Around 4,036 Event Professionals and seasoned Managers from 130 countries were part of the database.
  2. Dubai with 76.9% emerged as the safest destination for organising exhibitions and other public events looking at the current worldwide scenario.
  3. Germany (41.5%), Saudi Arabia (19.1%), France (16.9%), Italy (15.2%), USA (15.2%), China (12.1%), India (10.7%) were chosen as the next best options in the same ranking list.
  4. 62% of respondents believe that ‘physical or in-person’ events will play a significant role in resuscitating the industry.
  5. Out of the same 62%, nearly 31% suggest that ‘Live or in-person’ events have gained higher importance post-pandemic, while 38% are of the opinion that the cruciality factor of ‘in-person’ events remains unchanged.
  6. Moreover, out of total participants, 62% are confident to attend events at both ‘home and abroad’; only 25% found to be inclined to attend local/home country expos and trade events.
  7. A majority of the population (62%) have plans to attend ‘physical events‘ in the next 8 months; however, another 36% are more optimistic in attending by the end of 2020 itself.
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Recovery and Future Plans

In the last 7-8 months since the outbreak, only a few countries or cities have been successful in curbing the infection rates. Dubai, as one of the 7 emirates of UAE, has again distinguished itself during the on-going world health crisis. Resilience, proactiveness and systematic control by the government were the key reasons for Dubai opening up its economy earlier than many other advanced countries. Most of the businesses and trade operations, public utility services and places were permitted to open by 6th July 2020. At the moment we speak, Emirates Airlines is already carrying passengers from around 75 countries, while other major carriers grapple with a host of concerns.

For years now, Dubai has been the top performer in consistently garnering the maximum revenue (27%) of the entire MENA region’s Event Industry. Business and Leisure tourism constitute nearly 20% of its GDP. With the ever-expanding world-class infrastructure, strategic location (easily accessible from Europe, MENA and South-East Asian countries), more than 350 hotels and resorts with tech-equipped conference halls, facilities and experienced event management staff make Dubai a go-to destination for every exhibitor and organiser.

During the ‘Virtual’ 5th International Participant Meet (24th-26th August 2020), convened by Bureau International des Expositions, attended by delegates and commercial partners from 190 member countries, it was unanimously decided to postpone DUBAI EXPO 2020 to 2021( October- March). Dubai Tourism and Commercial Marketing Ministry in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Prevention have been at the forefront towards making this mega event a blockbuster.

The Way Forward

Apart from UAE (Dubai in particular), few other countries namely Vietnam, New Zealand, Taiwan, etc. with their timely actions and balanced coordination among their responsible ministries have achieved higher success in curbing the contagion. As a result, they are better placed than other advanced countries to re-open and re-start their economies and probably recover earlier. Every country is unique in terms of demographic challenges and other dynamics but certain factors are universal in nature. Strong political leadership, resourceful mobilisation of healthcare facilities and educating and convincing the masses about health and safety and enforcing the social-distancing protocols in the strictest sense are the keys. In the midst of shutting down, job losses, furloughs, on-going protests and obscure government support to the industry, these above-mentioned countries paint a stark picture of how to avoid the confusion and clutter.