EMECA builds back in 30th anniversary year with strong messages from General Assembly

During a recent General Assembly in Rimini, members of the European Major Exhibition Centres Association (EMECA) reported exhibition activity coming back with busy calendars in 2022 and full recovery expected in 2023/2024.

For this year 2022, the average turnover at member venues is forecast to reach 87% of the 2019 figure, the association noted.

In its 30th Anniversary year, the EMECA GA heard the association’s president Ricard Zapatero (pictured) note that many members have been running events since before or after summer 2021. “Some had to close again in the winter due to the pandemic situation, but since April 2022 all EMECA venues are again fully operational and are bringing back successfully a multitude of live trade fairs and events. It is great to see our industry thrive again.”.

EMECA members report their venues are all nearly fully booked, although not all international events are back at full steam as exhibitors and visitors from some key markets overseas cannot attend. The strong national and regional activity is partly due to postponed events in addition to the usual scheduled ones.

EMECA said the pandemic effects and war in Ukraine and the impact of sanctions do not directly affect its members to a high degree, although they do bring uncertainty and concern over energy prices, inflation, supply chains, and staffing issues.

Some sectors, such as the ceramics industry, are hit hard and this affects related events, EMECA notes, while in other sectors events are very healthy or even booming, for instance health, security and those dealing with digital and green markets.

Exhibitors and visitors are eager to meet in-person again, EMECA stresses, believing that networking, new business and creating trust among business partners is less successful online. “Nevertheless, all venues and organisers improve constantly the level of their digital offerings and services for the clients,” the association acknowledges.

The General Assembly also approved ExCeL London as a new member of the  association. That brings the total number of members to 24.

“We are delighted to welcome another major venue and key player from the UK to EMECA. This increases representation from this important, highly innovative and agile market among the members”, said Ricard Zapatero.

EMECA also says it plans to launch an award for young or start-up organisers, who establish new exhibitions at one of the EMECA venues. “The aim is to draw attention to new organisers and show themes to highlight the innovativeness and attractiveness of our industry to young generations”, explains Zapatero. EMECA promises details of the award to follow.

Before the pandemic, the EMECA members hosted and organised nearly 2,000 trade fairs a year globally, 1,550 of them in Europe.