Our Marco Barozzi plays the guest again in the Exhibit Marketers Café’s Virtual Lunch.
The episode dwells upon how it has been a tough year for the industry. Despite the uncertain situation and the lockdown still in place in most European countries, people and companies are really eager to go back and walk the show floor again.
Some events are back
Little, but meaningful signs of reopening are starting to show across Europe: last week in Spain, for instance, a regional show took place in-person for three days in Madrid, and another big one will take place in May.
In Italy, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is scheduled from the 14th to the 17th of June, and the objective is to host it fully in-person.
Some bigger and more technological-oriented realities, such as Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, will go fully hybrid, but won’t give up on the physical part. They strongly want to have the in-person event, coupled with the digital one, which is going to take place from June 28th to July 1st.
In the UK, according to current data, events will be reopening from June 21st.
However, a full reopening across Europe is not likely to happen before Q2 and Q3 of this year.
What are Green Certificates?
With the official vaccination campaign rolling out in the past few months, the topic of ‘green certificates’ acquired increasing relevance.
Green certificate, vaccine passport, health passport, whatever you want to call it, means that if you have a negative test, a vaccine, or any other type of document attesting you are Covid-free, then you should be able to travel (depending on the specific restrictions and country regulations) abroad and to attend events within the EU.
In Israel something similar is already working: an app that basically puts a green card into your Apple wallet.
Why are they necessary?
Green certificates are going be fundamental in the future.
Once travel bans are lifted, people will be moving en masse again. Travel is a key factor related to the event industry, and that’s why the European Exhibition industry Alliance, Emeca – the European Major Exhibition Centres Association, UFI and local associations in many countries, are putting pressure on the EU to speed up the process.
There’s been a very good coordination between all the above mentioned entities with the aim to send a unified and clear message: it’s time for a long-awaited comeback, it’s time for trade shows and events to restart. Green Certificates are what we need to do it as soon as possible.
The industry gave back what it could
Hopefully, these requests won’t fall on deaf ears. Especially after all the efforts that all exhibitions and events organizations and institutions made to help face the pandemic during last year.
Exhibition venues were converted into Covid-related facilities to ease the pressure on hospitals, some made their kitchens available to distribute food or made space available to be redesigned as shelters for the homeless (Fira Barcelona is an excellent example of this policy).
Some major venues have also been converted into vaccination centers as soon as the first vaccine rolled out, in order to speed up the campaign.
An eye to the future
Looking back at a whole year of restrictions and sacrifices, we cannot help but notice how the challenge to our industry was huge.
Times like those we have lived and are living call for new skills and a whole new way of thinking (out of the box). We need to face and solve problems with a different approach, by finding different solutions.
As Marco Giberti, an accredited professional with decades of experience in the field would quote from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, “We must unlearn what we have learned”.
To overcome difficulties, enjoy endless opportunities and embrace changes happening at an incredible fast pace.
The industry needs to, but also CAN and SHOULD, restart. This time, for real.