For a couple of days in June each year, professionals from the exhibition industry have met together in Washington, D.C. for Exhibitions Day. The purpose of Exhibitions Day is to meet with federal legislators and their staff to advocate on behalf of the exhibitions and events industry. In prior years, up to 125 industry professionals participated in the event. This year, due to the global pandemic, Exhibitions Day went virtual and over 1,600 professionals registered to participate in the event. Exhibit Concepts was one of those participants.
Prior events have focused on issues such as general safety concerns, transportation and online booking scams. This year, understandably, the focus was on the devastating economic impact COVID-19 has had on the exhibitions industry. Our mission was to ask legislators to support legislation to help companies in the exhibitions and events industry get back to business, as well as emphasizing the key role that the events and exhibition industry plays in the recovery of the overall economy.
Much of the focus of the day of advocacy was educating legislators and their staff on key facts about the industry:
- B2B events contributed $101B to the U.S. GDP in 2019
- All 50 states have exhibits
- 1.6M companies exhibit
- 81.3M show and conference attendees in the U.S. each year
Participants were encouraged to communicate with their representatives in support of several legislative initiatives. First and foremost are initiatives to support a safe restart to exhibitions, meetings and events.
Key issues can be found on the International Association of Exhibitions and Events “Exhibitions and Events Mean Business” website.
Additionally, the Go LIVE Together initiative is focused on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 by leveraging industry resources and expertise. The effort also joins leaders from across the industry to continue to drive local, state and federal legislative actions to get the event and exhibitions industry back to work which will in turn drive the global economic recovery. Additional information, resources and progress updates can be found here.
On Friday, June 5th, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) released a White Paper: Essential Considerations for Safely Reopening Exhibitions and Events. This paper is based on the recommendations of the scientific and medical communities and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) for the best and safest ways to conduct live events. The paper is geared toward exhibition organizers for use when planning for and producing an exhibition during a pandemic, and provides insights to exhibitors and exhibit producers to help plan for a safe and successful event.
Events and exhibitions provide the means for brands to make connections with their audience, for companies to launch new products and for buyers to make informed decisions. We can implement the necessary measures (e.g. wider aisles, antimicrobial materials, hand sanitizers, and others) to provide a safe experience for exhibitors and attendees. We need our government officials to support efforts to restart our industry.