Representatives of Russian MICE industry business event organizers and operators, managers of venues and professional associations discussed the current situation in the industry, state support measures and industry prospects. The online session was organized by the St. Petersburg Convention Bureau together with the Roscongress Foundation.
Participants of the discussion touched upon tools for the support of Russian congress and exhibition industry announced by the authorities, their practical application and general effectiveness. The agenda included questions of supporting regional operators, international experience of helping event organizing companies, as well as industrys potential and development prospects after the pandemic. Among the participants were Kai Hattendorf, CEO of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI); Andrei Tsemakhovich, Head of the Department of Foreign Trade Regulation And Export Support, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation; Sergey Selivanov, Director of the Department of Exhibition, Fair and Congress Activities of the CCI of Russia; Sergei Voronkov, President of the Russian Union of Events and Fairs (RUEF), CEO of ExpoForum International; Alexander Stuglev, Chairman and CEO of the Roscongress Foundation; Alexei Kalachev, Director of the Russian Convention Bureau; and regional representatives of RUEF.
«Congress and exhibition industry is vitally important, as it is this industry that will help the economy recover after the pandemic. We will help companies revive sales, develop contacts, create profit, and provide jobs worldwide. No doubt that there are industries that are more affected. But our activities and every euro, dollar and yen invested in our industry today will help create market and discussion platforms and, as a result, support other industries. Many countries are now implementing comprehensive state programmes. For example, Hong Kong is putting into practice a targeted programme, planning to provide companies with funding totaling HKD 130 million; Thailand has arranged a tranche of USD 40 million; Denmark has developed a support scheme worth 12 million euros to cover congress business losses; Switzerland is providing support to small and medium-sized exhibition companies totaling CHF 4.5 million. I want to emphasize that we will not be able to quickly recover to the level that we had before the pandemic. That is why today UFIs efforts are targeted at development of a strategy for resuming operations. We are now working with all associations participating in the Union and jointly developing a set of measures aimed at efficient recovery of operations, and this our key objective amidst the spread of the coronavirus,» said CEO of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) Kai Hattendorf.
Congress and exhibition industry is among the industries of global and Russian economy that are most affected by the coronavirus. The RUEF management together with professional communities addressed requests for support to Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin and Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov. The memorandum of support was seconded by over 300 Russian industry players. «All restrictions including closing borders between states and holding public events have had an impact on exhibition events. Due to our joint efforts, congress and exhibition industry was included into the list of most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. According to expert estimations, today the industry provides over 140,000 jobs, and these are mainly small and medium-sized companies. I am certain that we need to consider including major representatives of our industry into the list of countrys systemic companies. Such measure would allow to minimize losses and preserve jobs,» said President of RUEF and CEO of ExpoForum International Sergei Voronkov.
Meeting participants noted that the event industry will face certain changes: merging online and offline formats, as well as unique integrations and products, will make the industry more advanced in terms of using digital solutions. «When it became clear that we are experiencing a negative scenario in the industry, the Roscongress Foundation started developing a platform to be able to operate online and restructure its technical and technological processes. Unfortunately, among the most affected are the organizations that were engaged in arranging major events: small and medium-sized businesses. Thousands of events have been cancelled. Now we need to prepare for the future. It is evident that the crisis has a serious impact on our industry. In the near future companies and states will have much less resources. We will face the need to coordinate schedules and cut budgets. I am sure that together we will develop approaches to overcome the crisis given all negative factors that are yet to emerge. Events will inevitably evolve: the future belongs to mixed formats, with offline and online dimensions coexisting,» said Alexander Stuglev, Chairman and CEO of the Roscongress Foundation.
Following the results of the digital conference, a decision was made to study international practices of supporting congress and exhibition industry, as well as develop a list of additional measures needed to help the industry from the point of view of large business.
Plan not cancel. Changing the roadmap for tourism and event industries available on the Roscongress TV YouTube channel.