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Cancellations and postponements of exhibitions could cost Germany €3bn, says AUMA

A survey by AUMA, the Association of the German Tradefair Industry, concerning the macroeconomic impact on the country resulting from recent cancellations and postponements of tradefairs, has put the cost at €3bn. 

Tradefair organisers and service providers like stand constructors are suffering from heavy financial losses, AUMA says, with many other branches of business affected as well, especially the hotel and catering industry, the transport industry and numerous local suppliers and contractors. “These industries are suffering considerable losses in sales with a direct impact on employees,” AUMA adds, noting that sales losses mean tax revenues will fall and thus impacting local economies.

AUMA’s Institute of the German Tradefair Industry has, for the first time, forecast the consequences for Germany based on the calculations of the Munich-based ifo Institut for economic research in regard to the macroeconomic relevance of German tradefairs in 2018.

The association projects, on that basis, a loss of around €3bn for the national economy just by cancellations and postponements of tradefairs. This also affects more than 24,000 jobs and tax authorities will miss over €470m of tax revenue.

These sums do not include lost sales of companies, which had expected to generate turnover during the tradefairs. These figures would be many times higher than the above-mentioned sums and can only be substituted to a limited extent through other measures. No other marketing device is able to represent a company and its products as comprehensively as face to face.

Philipp Harting, Chairman of AUMA says there could be a 10% drop in the tradefair industry’s input into national economy.

“Almost all plans for tradefairs during the next months are null and void. Organisers, exhibitors, visitors and contractors are losing any planning reliability. They have high up-front costs without the prospect of any benefit and they suffer from severe and acute loss of sales.”

AUMA says it has to be ensured that the German economy in future – and particularly small and medium-sized enterprises – will be able to rely on the highly effective instrument that is the ‘Messe’ (tradefair) and can continue co-operating with contractors. Without government support this is unlikely to be realised, despite great efforts of the exhibition industry itself.

Germany claims the number one spot worldwide in terms of organising international tradefairs of which 160-180 take place across the country annually. Add to this 180,000 exhibitors and 10m visitors meeting up on German exhibition grounds and the fact that German exhibiting companies invest almost half of their B2B communication budgets in tradefair participations.

The combined spend of exhibitors and visitors at tradefairs in Germany result in macroeconomic production effects of more than €28bn, AUMA adds. Further evidence provided in the AUMA survey of the power of the sector in Germany is the figure of 230,000 jobs provided by tradefairs and tax revenues approximating €4.5bn.


  • Elsewhere, in central Europe, Austria, Poland and Czech Republic all introduced mass events bans on 10 March. Austria banned indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events of more than 500 people, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer confirmed. The government there also announced a ban on people arriving from Italy. The Polish government has also moved to cancel all mass events due to the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, and the Czech Republic banned events of more than 100 people. 
  • Spain’s La Liga also announced that all matches will be played behind closed doors for at least the next two rounds.
  • In China the situation around coronavirus appeared to have eased with President Xi visiting the city at the centre of the initial outbreak, Wuhan and daily figures of new cases and deaths dropping back significantly.
  • South Korea and Singapore, both in the initial wave of the outbreak were also reporting a levelling off and drop in new cases reported.