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The largest European exhibition centres heavily impacted by the crisis are mobilising for a reopening on 1 September 2020 at the latest!

The EMECA association, which represents the European major exhibitions centres, alerts on the urgency of their reopening and calls for strong financial support from European and national public authorities to ensure the survival and the economic recovery of an entire industry.

European exhibitions promise to deploy on all venues sanitary facilities meeting the highest sanitary standards and ensure the safety of exhibitors and visitors.

The European exhibition industry, global leader in terms of capacity, quality and location is one of the sectors most strongly impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, as are travel and tourism. “Exhibitions are a source of business and socio-economic impact as well as a source of social ties. However, now that we are ready to host events while ensuring the health and safety of all, the persistent closure measures are threatening our entire industry”, explains Maurits von der Sluis, EMECA President and COO of RAI Amsterdam.

With currently all exhibitions being forbidden for six months from March to September in most European countries, the socio-economic impact losses as high as 124,9 bn € for Q1-Q2. “Some events have been rescheduled but many have been definitely cancelled. The revenue loss in our industry was around 40% in Q1, is 100% in Q2 and a loss of 60% forecasted for Q3/Q4. We were the first to be forced to close and may be the last sector to reopen. In a situation of a necessary economic recovery, our industry must be able to play its key role. Insecurity is threatening already the exhibitions planned for the autumn as companies hesitate to confirm their participation» says Maurits von der Sluis,

The European exhibition industry needs assistance and massive financial support from the national governments and the EU, such as exemption from rent, charges, subsidies, loans and incentives for exhibitors’ and buyers’ participation in the future. This vital support to our sector is needed as, complementary to the large venues and organisers, its ecosystem is composed mostly of SMEs like stand-construction, freight- forwarding, catering, interpretation and hostess services. EMECA Members estimate that it may take at least 2-3 years to get back to the previous level of activity.

Reopening exhibitions, the latest from 1st September onwards, is essential and all necessary health and sanitary measures are ready to be implemented. “Concepts to conduct B2B and B2C events under highest standard of health and safety have been developed by the EMECA venues. Additionally, lifting travel restrictions is the prerequisite for B2B trade fairs, here action needs to be aligned within the EU and globally” underlines Barbara Weizsäcker, EMECA Secretary General. Businesses are waiting for their marketplaces to open again, their foremost marketing and selling or sourcing channel for relaunching their business. Also, among the exhibitors there are many SMEs whose business relies on exhibitions.


The 24 EMECA venues host and organise over 1.800 trade fairs a year globally, out of which more than 1.500 in Europe on a gross rented space of nearly 38 mio sqm. They welcome more than 360.000 exhibitors and over 37,7 mio visitors in Europe.

The EMECA Board 2020

Maurits van der Sluis, EMECA President (RAI Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Herbert Marner, Vice President Treasurer (Koelnmesse, Germany)

Anne-Marie Baezner, Vice President Communication (Eurexpo Lyon, France) Elzbieta Roeske, Vice President EU Relations (Grupa MTP Poznan, Poland) Ricard Zapatero, Vice President Technical Affairs (Fira Barcelona, Spain) Roland Bleinroth, Vice President Digital Business (Messe Stuttgart, Germany)

Claude Membrez, Interim Vice President Strategy (Palexpo Geneva, Switzerland) Barbara Weizsäcker, EMECA Secretary General

The EMECA Members 2020

Belgium: Brussels Expo

Germany: KoelnMesse, Deutsche Messe (Hanover), Messe Frankfurt, NürnbergMesse, Messe Stuttgart

France : EUREXPO – Centre de Conventions et d’Expositions de Lyon, VIPARIS, Paris Italy: BolognaFiere, Fiera Milano, Italian Exhibition Group (Rimini, Vicenza), VeronaFiere

The Netherlands:RAI Amsterdam, Royal Dutch Jaarbeurs Utrecht Poland: MTP Grupa, Poznan

Portugal: Feira Internacional de Lisboa Russia: Expocentre Moscow

Switzerland: MCH Group (Basel, Zurich, Lausanne), Palexpo Geneva

Spain: Fira de Barcelona, Bilbao Exhibition Centre, IFEMA – Feria de Madrid, Feria Valencia

UK: Birmingham Exhibition Centre (the NEC)

Press and media contact EMECA General Secretary Ms Barbara Weizsäcker Rue de l'Amazone 2

B-1050 Brussels Tel +32 25357250


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