Refrain from repayments

No trade fairs without stand construction

kf - Wednesday, March 25, 2020    

No trade fairs without stand construction
Photo: Messe Düsseldorf / CTillmann

An estimated 1,750 European stand construction companies are seeing the most important international trade fairs cancelled due to country shutdowns. While there is no doubt that the current corona pandemic makes this necessary, there is also no doubt that the exhibition stand construction sector is being hit particularly hard. Exhibition stand construction companies and their service providers are going through the same shutdown as the countries in which they are based. Thus, COVID-19 puts nearly 250,000 jobs in the exhibition stand construction at risk throughout Europe. According to a recent survey from the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES), nearly 300 members are projected to lose approximately 50% of their annual revenue. These companies are among the small SMEs with an average annual turnover of EUR 5.3 million and about 42 permanent employees. These companies shoulder a heavy burden. Additionally, they generally fall through the ranks when it comes to system relevance. "This is a gross misjudgement," says Torsten Heinze, vice-chair of IFES and managing director of the German-American trade fair construction company Czarnowski, "The industry as a whole represents annual sales of EUR 9.3bn within Europe. And with all suppliers, such as assembly companies, freelancers, technical service providers, this EUR 9.3bn represents almost 250,000 jobs." In some European countries, measures such as short-time work compensation and state bank guarantees for loans have created opportunities to bridge liquidity bottlenecks. Nevertheless, the mountain of debt of these companies is growing every day, so that the first companies are now considering the possibility of planned insolvency. This must be prevented with national and/or European funds, because when the economy picks up again, when trade returns to normal, these many service providers will be systemically relevant to create adequate presentations for the many exhibitors on and off the exhibition grounds. Trade fairs and conferences will then become a catalyst for economic recovery and are an important element in preventing the Corona crisis from turning into a long-term recession. "Trade fairs without trade fair construction, that doesn't exist", explains IFES managing director, Uta Goretzky. (kf)


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Corona Virus | Practice | IFES | Trade Fair Construction | Coronavirus | Covid-19