Jaarbeurs Utrecht hosted this autumn’s EMECA General Assembly, the first in-person meeting of the association since the pandemic started. “It marks the moment of strong restart of all our Members’ activities and with this, EMECA sends the message that nothing can substitute face-to-face-events”, declared EMECA President Ricard Zapatero.
EMECA Members report a strong restart, with packed Q3-Q4 calendars, while overseas exhibitors’ and visitors’ attendance is still low. The organisation calls for facilitating international travel for WHO vaccinated attendees of trade fairs.
After exhibitions in Spain were allowed to reopen as early as May and Italy in June, all other EMECA Members are now back in business with tight schedules for the autumn and the beginning of the next year, recovering postponed or cancelled events in addition to the usual scheduled ones.
The recovery of international trade fairs is slower as exhibitors and visitors from key markets overseas still cannot attend. Concerning the expectation of full recovery, many expect to be fully back in 2023 while many others, also due to exhibition cycles, named 2024 until even 2026.
Even though all EMECA Members increased the digital offerings and services for the sectorial communities they serve with their respective exhibitions, the strong physical rebound shows that the pandemic strengthened the business model.
Guest Speaker Eric Philippart, Senior Expert from the European Commission’s DG Grow, informed about the support provided on European level to soften the effects of the pandemic for the sector and explained the policy shaping underway to set the goals for the green and digital transition in the Travel and Tourism ecosystem, to be followed by all other ecosystems.
EMECA Members provided input as to the current problems impeding the full recovery, such as staff shortage and talent attraction, insurance for health related event cancellations, financial aids, and above all the condition for full recovery: the urgent need to harmonise the lifting of travel restrictions, no quarantines, allowing business travel for exhibitions and events for vaccinated travellers and recognition of all WHO approved vaccinations for that aim.
EMECA has also elected its Board Members for 2022. New to the Board will be Corrado Peraboni, CEO of IEG, as Vice President Treasurer and Pablo Nakhlé-Cerruti, CEO of VIPARIS, as Vice President Relations with the EU. Elzbieta Roeske, MTP Grupa, and Anne-Marie Baezner, Eurexpo Lyon, were confirmed for another term of two years. “We are very pleased to welcome two new Members to the Board as of next January, representing two key markets in Europe, France and Italy. Congratulations the new colleagues elected and sincere thanks to the all current Board Members for the support they gave to steer the association through the rough times in the past months”, confirmed EMECA President Ricard Zapatero.
The EMECA Board 2022