#Save Exhibitions and Events

Whilst most industries have opened for trade post full Covid lockdowns, the exhibition and events industry worldwide, except for China and Germany, continue to face restrictions crippling their ability to get back to work. While the personal cost to those that own business and work in this sector is dire, what is extraordinary, is that governments have failed to recognise the contribution this sector makes to GDP.

In 2019 in the UK, this sector generated a £70bn contribution to the economy, employing some 600,000 people. (with the exhibitions sector alone creating £11bn, supporting some 114,000 of those jobs).

In Europe, the industry represents annual sales of EUR 9.3bn. And with all suppliers, such as assembly companies, freelancers, technical service providers and associated services, this EUR 9.3 bn represents almost 250,000 jobs.

In South Africa, this industry and its affiliates contribute an estimated R115 Billion to the GDP annually and sustain over 250 000 direct and indirect jobs nationally every year. *SANCB 2014-2016 Study.

In the USA, the live events industry has a major impact on the U.S. economy. Key indicators include:

  • The events industry adds $885 billion to U.S. GDP every year.
  • The industry directly employs about 2.8 million people.
  • The industry supports roughly 6.6 million jobs directly and indirectly.
  • The industry produces $117 billion in federal, state and local taxes annually.
  • 80% of companies that support conferences and trade shows are small businesses.
  • A high percentage of the workers who help stage live events are blue collar union.          

In India, exhibitions have contributed significantly to the tourism and hospitality industry. According to industry reports, the profit stood at $752 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at 7.5 per cent in the next five years.

All over the world the exhibition industry is working with their members to lobby government to open our industry. In the UK, through ESSA, and in the USA, through EDPA, the associations are providing the members with letters of engagement to petition local members of parliament and congress to hear our plight, recognise the value of this industry and work towards the easing of restrictions.

This letter is a call to action to all those who work in this industry. Let your voice be heard and fight to save our industry. Whilst the figures I have shared from previously published articles do not even represent the full global picture, the value of our industry speaks for itself, it’s worth saving!