Virtual exhibition booths flourish with show cancellations

March 06, 2020 //By Julien Happich
exhibition booths
With almost 100,000 people affected by the coronavirus, spreading from China to over 30 countries, and the news of novel outbreaks and city-wide quarantine measures in Italy, the pandemic is set to have a lasting effect on European countries too.

Not least because the manufacturing capacity of China is brought to its knees, bringing to a halt many other manufacturers worldwide (including European car manufacturers) due to a looming supply chain interruption, but also for the many travelling restrictions that ensue from efforts to tame the virus propagation.

Paris alone, often claimed to be the most visited city in Europe is registering a drastic reduction in its number of visitors, and the hexagon has already observed a 30 to 40% decline in tourism, according to French economy minister Bruno Le Maire. Venice, a symbol of Italian tourism, is probably set to suffer an even higher decline after some cases were detected in the region. Pure tourism set aside, trade shows can be large contributors to regional prosperity, it is anticipated that Barcelona’s cancelled Mobile World Congress (MWC) will cost Catalonia up to 500 millions Euros in lost revenue. Now, even increased health measures hardly convince travellers they are safe to attend trade shows where tens of thousands of people flock into confined venues. Indeed, a long list of companies officially cancelled their attendance to Embedded World in Nuremberg at a short notice, even though the organizers repeatedly communicated about heightened cleaning and disinfection measures while also encouraging a “no-handshake policy” at the show.

The reduced attendance expected at Embedded World is clearly a cascading effect of Mobile World Congress’ high media profile cancellation, and now other shows in Europe are registering cancellations from high profile exhibitors.


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