Fairs and exhibitions, export antechambers, are slowly recovering

Knocked out at the start of the crisis by administrative bans, which were only lifted on June 9, and the limitation of international travel, events – fairs, exhibitions and other exhibitions – are slowly recovering from the shock. A reduced version, with 5,000 people instead of the usual 25,000, of Mipim, the real estate high mass which is usually held in the spring, will take place on September 7 and 8 in Cannes.

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Mipim is thus launching the autumn-winter season of major trade fairs, notably with Maison et Objet in Villepinte and Who’s Next, the major fashion show at Porte de Versailles. “We resume an almost normal pace, assures Pablo Nakhlé Cerruti, Managing Director of Viparis, European leader in the sector.r. We will host as many events in the second half of 2021 as in the second half of 2019. “ So much for the good news.

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The bad news is that, like Mipim, events have shrunk with the crisis. “We only have half the space reserved, because there are half as many exhibitors, or their stands are small”, continues Mr. Cerruti. And for good reason: with travel rules still very restrictive, international visitors may not be there. “Global tech tells its employees to stay at home until January 2022”, deplores Mr Cerruti.

Hitch in business

A disappointment for the event sector itself and for the entire sector – service providers, subcontractors -, as well as for business tourism players, who benefit from nearly 40 billion euros in spinoffs from the event. trade show industry. But also a considerable hitch for the business, especially for export. The events “weigh” 493 billion euros in contracts, including 35 billion for France, recalls Renaud Hamaide, president of Comexposium, a French giant in the sector, adding that“A certain number of so-called” major export “visitors will not be able to be present in the next editions due to travel bans”.

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Of course, not all contracts are signed on the corner of a stand in the heart of the event. But these events, in commercial jargon, are “lead generators” and bear fruit in the weeks or months that follow.

“The absence of trade fairs is one of the major difficulties that exporting companies have faced since the start of the crisis”, confirms Christophe Lecourtier, Managing Director of Business France, the body responsible for supporting French companies internationally. The major German trade fairs around wine, food, automobile and publishing alone attract between 6,000 and 7,000 French companies each year. Their absence automatically led to a drop, or even a stop, in exports for certain players.

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