Ricard Zapatero, International Business Director of Fira de Barcelona, has been elected as EMECA President for the upcoming period 2021-2022. Maurits van der Sluis, COO of RAI Amsterdam and current EMECA President, will take up the role of Vice President Strategy for the next term.
Additionally, according to the election cycle, two more positions were to be filled: Roland Bleinroth, CEO of Messe Stuttgart, has been confirmed for another term as Vice President Digital Business and Claude Membrez, Director General of Palexpo Geneva, will act as interim Vice President for Technical Affairs.
Maurits van der Sluis, current President of EMECA, welcomes the decision of the General Assembly and confirms: “EMECA has and will have a strong and determined leading team. Exhibition centres and organisers are in a very difficult situation due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions. We will strive for bringing back marketing platforms and face-to-face encounters to our clients.”
“The next year will be decisive for exhibitions centres”, adds Ricard Zapatero. “I am convinced that industries need their sectorial platforms so that economic recovery and the transition to more sustainable and digital future can be mastered. Our sector is hit especially hard and for a very long time by the Covid-19 restrictions including on-off lockdowns and unprecedented travel restrictions for our clients. We are convinced of our business model while we massively invest into offering alternative and complementary services to the respective sectorial communities. However, as the situation persists, we call for rapid testing to allow safe exhibitions and business events.”
The currently 24 EMECA venues host and organise nearly 2.000 trade fairs a year globally, out of which 1.550 in Europe on a gross rented space of nearly 38 mio sqm. They welcome nearly 500.000 exhibitors and roughly 38,5 mio visitors in Europe.