New survey shows 62% of Russian event companies believe it will take over a year to return to pre-Covid activity levels

The Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs, together with independent R&C Market Research Company (formerly part of the St Petersburg-based Restec group), have released results of a survey they carried out to gauge the impact of Covid-19 on the Russian exhibition industry. Among 1,300 events planned for 2020, less than a half (47%) were held on dates originally specified by the organisers, 37% were cancelled or postponed to 2021, 10% were held on other dates, 6% went online.

The results of the survey highlight the strong impact of the pandemic on the industry in 2020 and the expectations of the respondents for 2021.

The majority of respondents (68%) indicated that their losses were more than 50% of the expected company’s turnover in 2020.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of companies said they had to reduce their workforce, with 23% indicating by more than 40%. Only 36% managed to keep their full team together.

The Russian replies were mixed on the likely speed of return for major events, with a quarter of companies predicting the recovery would take from between six months to a year, 10% indicating the period would likely be from two to six months., while 62% of the respondents are expecting it to take more than a year to return their company’s activity to a pre-Covid level.

Just under a third (32%) of companies said they had benefitted from public financial support. The most popular measures were tax holidays, subsidised loans, and subsidies for partial compensation of business losses.

Sergey Voronkov (pictured), RUEF president and CEO EF-International, told EW: “The industry will never return to a pre-Covid-19 level in terms of content and structure, because the world has changed. We need to become more flexible than ever. We can face various global challenges: epidemics, military conflicts, economic sanctions and others. The industry should be able to adapt quickly to the new reality and new conditions, then the recovery process will take a short time.