Irish Exhibition and Trade Fair Organisers Call for Level Playing Field
Just six weeks away from the busiest season for trade fairs and exhibitions*, members of the Irish Exhibition Organisers Association (IEOA) are now making critical decisions on September to November trade fairs and exhibitions.
With many September trade fairs and exhibitions now postponed and future trade fairs and exhibitions in jeopardy, the IEOA is calling for equal treatment to that of retail businesses who engage with thousands of customers every single day.
Whilst the organisation is in complete support of the Government’s advice based on health and safety being paramount, IEOA members are frustrated by the lack of a level playing field.
Comparable to retail, trade fairs and exhibitions should not be defined as ‘mass events’, therefore the IEOA is calling for the number of people admitted to trade fairs or exhibitions to be determined by the size of the venue or hall in which it takes place.
“We have already produced and distributed robust guidelines which clearly show how trade fairs and exhibitions can operate in a safe manner, and it goes without saying that the health and safety of our employees, exhibitors, contractors and visitors is our number one priority.
“We are NOT organising mass events such as concerts, sporting events or large social events, and are calling for the Department of Business to recognise that exhibitions and trade fairs must be treated equally to that of retail,” adds Garret Buckley, Chair, IEOA and Managing Director of EventHaus.
The IEOA is optimistic that exhibitions and trade fairs will be included in the July Stimulus package, which would play a crucial role in securing thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly throughout the entire supply chain.
The organisation is also calling for the introduction of a voucher scheme which will enable SMEs to cover some of the costs in participating in future exhibitions and trade fairs, and in return help stimulate Ireland’s recovery.
Garret Buckley explains: “Trade fairs and exhibitions are a crucial sales funnel for many Irish SMEs as they are effectively marketplaces which connect buyers with sellers. For many years, our members’ trade fairs and exhibitions have proved to be lifeline in securing future sales for exhibitors across a wide array of sectors.
“The IEOA is calling for the introduction of a voucher scheme of approximately €1,500, which will enable businesses to participate in future trade fairs and exhibitions, helping to secure vital sales at a time when every business needs it most.
“As well as directly benefitting exhibitor SMEs, this scheme would have a positive ripple effect throughout our supply chain, securing business for our many third-party contractors and suppliers.”
With exhibitions and trade fairs taking place in vast venues such as The RDS, space can be totally configurated to ensure physical distancing. Controlled pre-event registration will facilitate contract tracing and the IEOA protocols detail many more procedures which will ensure the safe and controlled re-opening of trade fairs and exhibitions.
The IEOA is calling on the Department of Business and Health & Safety Authority to engage with the Association, include trade fairs and exhibitions in the July Stimulus package and to consider the merits of the introduction of the SME trade fair voucher scheme.
For further information on the IEOA Roadmap to Safe Exhibitions and Covid-19 protocols, see http://www.ieoa.ie/safeexhibitions
* Definition of an exhibition or trade fair:
“An exhibition or trade fair takes place in a recognised exhibition venue, hired by the Organiser for a defined period. Floor space within the Venue is sub-let or leased by the Organiser to individual businesses and SMEs for the same period who reserve a specific stand space to present their products or services. Visitors to the exhibition or trade fair must register with the Organiser in advance to attend."
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