Indian Exhibition Industry urges Government to unlock and restart exhibitions with strict safety measures as industry has been hit hard due to COVID 19

Indian Exhibitions Industry Association (IEIA), the apex body of exhibiting and trade show industry in the country has urged the government including Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of Home Affairs to immediately allow organizing exhibitions albeit with all public safety measures for survival of the industry and revival of the Indian economy .

“COVID 19 has adversely impacted the ‘Business Exhibitions’ sector across India with a complete standstill since March 2020 continuing till date. Indian Exhibition sector, which is an important building block for development of trade and economy, plays a vital role to support many industry sectors with 2/3rd of exhibitions held annually being in the B2B segment, which are highly organized and structured in terms of movement of people and goods. The global pandemic has adversely affected the exhibition industry and its economic impact on the country’s trade. “said Mr Balasubramanian, President Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA) .

“Approximately Rs. 300,000 crore of business and related trade has been affected due to non-holding of exhibitions in India this year with about 15 lakh estimated livelihoods affected who depend on exhibitions for their sustenance. Approximately 1.5 crore people participate in exhibitions every year in India for their business needs. Huge mass lay-offs, no work orders for the contractual service providers and lack of livelihood avenues for temporary ground workers add to the aggravation of the loss being suffered by the sector.” Said Mr Balasubramaniam .

“Indian Exhibition industry was growing at 10% YOY during pre-covid period. Industry is deeply impacted and is facing an unprecedented challenge. We are making a clarion call to the Government to extend a supporting hand to this industry so that exhibitions can come back soon and start supporting various businesses. This would not only boost the India’s vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, but will also enable the revival of the national economy, create jobs as well as bring back the country to its growth path”. Said Mr Balasunramaniam .

Delhi based India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) having its exhibition complex at Pragati Maidan stands for progress and development through trade. Being a symbol of modern fair culture in India, Pragati Maidan has witnessed cancellation of around 26 exhibitions from April 2020 to August 2020. Cancellation of each exhibition translates into huge loss of revenues for the Centre and the State along with the overall business loss for the concerned sectors. HITEX in Hyderabad, which is a public-private partnership venture of Government of Telangana, hosts an average of 100 small to medium size exhibitions and events held every year. Approx 40 of such expos and events have been cancelled this year till date due to COVID 19.

“Similarly Plastindia Foundation which is the Apex body connected with Plastics/Petrochemicals/Machinery and related Sectors, organizes the world’s 3rd largest Plastics International Exhibition. The last edition of Plastindia attracted 1,800 exhibitors, including 550 exhibitors from 44 countries covering an area of 125,000 sqms, setting a record of visitor footfall from 112 countries. Another big exhibition, the 49th edition of world renowned Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair (IHGF) Delhi fair which was scheduled to be held in April 2020 had to be cancelled due to COVID 19 resulting in a loss to the tune of Rs. 4500 crores due to this cancellation thereby adversely affecting the livelihood opportunities of about 2 million Craftpersons . “ said Mr Balasubramaniam .

, “Exhibitions are important marketing and business support mediums for the millions of artisans and small business players in the handicrafts sector. Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) had initiated the virtual fairs to facilitate exporters to interact and transact business with the buyers of the handicrafts sector from across the globe. Ultimately it is confirmed by the exhibitors that physical format of exhibitions are irreplaceable and are the only effective platforms for furthering our business”. Said Mr Rakesh Kumar, Director General, Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) the main organiser of IHGF.

Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) , which is one of the purpose built exhibition venues in India organizes around 40 trade shows and events every year, which generates approx. Rs.2,570 crores of economic activity in Bangalore with direct exhibition spend by exhibitors on space rentals & exhibition services and indirect spend on travel, accommodation, food & beverage and shopping & recreation. Such economic activity generates around Rs.345 crores of tax revenues for India. The estimated trade and business transactions conducted by industry at exhibitions in BIEC is around Rs.32,300 crore.

“IEIA has already prepared Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to organise safe and secure exhibitions in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and the same have been submitted to Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Commerce last month. As Exhibitions require a gestation period of 6-8 weeks to organise, it is vital for the Government to announce a date by when exhibitions can be restarted in a safe and sound environment. The human density for b2b exhibitions are not much different from a shopping mall or a railway / bus station and we can ready to organise shows once we get the necessary approvals,” added Mr. Balasubramaniam.

Governments in countries like Brazil, which is even more affected by COVID as compared to India, along with various other countries including UK, Italy, Spain, Russia and many others have allowed exhibitions to restart owing to the significant multiplier role of exhibitions on the overall economy.

IEIA, along with many trade bodies that organize exhibitions have approached the union government to allow organizing exhibitions albeit with all public safety measures. With domestic travel and hospitality sector opened up in a phased manner, malls allowed to operate, and no restrictions on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods; positive announcement to restart exhibitions will provide a significant boost to trade and industry sentiments across various sectors and will also support survival of lacs of livelihoods in the country. While exhibition sector was excluded in the list of sectors allowed in Unlock 3.0, Indian exhibition industry appeals and looks forward to Unlocking exhibitions by the Government of India to restart in Unlock 4.0.

About IEIA- Indian Exhibition Industry Association is the National apex body representing the Indian Exhibition industry that brings together all the stakeholders including exhibition organizers, stand contractors, freight forwarders, services and facilities providers, venue owners etc. so that there is a common platform available to the entire industry to consider ways and means for the sound and scientific development of various facets of the industry. For more info, contact