A recent programme on Roscongress TV has explored the impact the coronavirus outbreak has
had on the convention and exhibition industry. Taking part in the discussion
were Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Roscongress
Foundation Alexander Stuglev; Chief Executive Officer of the Russian Convention
Bureau Alexey Kalachev; and President of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and
Fairs and CEO of ExpoForum
International Sergey Voronkov. The discussion was moderated by renowned
television presenter Alexey Bobrovsky.
The guests assessed the losses the industry has sustained as a result of
the coronavirus pandemic. According to Kalachev, around 1,000 events have been
cancelled around the world. In Europe, these cancellations have affected
contracts worth a total of USD 14 billion. Russia accounts for approximately 5%
of this figure.
No less important
than the financial aspect are the social implications, with a great many small
and medium-sized enterprises operating in the event sector. «Many of these
companies are not able to fall back on large financial reserves. However, I am
confident that they will do everything they can to protect their workers, as
human resources are the greatest asset in our industry,» said Stuglev.
The guests cited a number of measures that can be taken to mitigate the
negative effects caused by this development in events. These include tax breaks
(including social payments), deferred payments on loans, and giving a national
government body or agency supervisory powers to effectively protect the
interests of the industry.
As restrictions on
holding events are put in place, so the role of digital tools is growing
significantly. «There is no doubt that the current situation will spur the
development of various digital platforms and formats. They already exist, and
many companies will now either switch to an existing IT infrastructure, or
develop their own,» said Stuglev. Nevertheless, he was quick to point out that
online formats would not be able to fully replace traditional events. «In time,
the value of face-to-face contact will mean that people will inevitably have to
meet in person. These meetings might initially take place at small events.
Later, attention will again turn to large conventions and exhibitions which had
been previously planned and postponed.»
The guests agreed
that conventions and exhibitions form a strategically vital sector for the
country, given their role in shaping its technological and economic potential.
«Russia currently has a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate to the world that
it truly is a safe and secure haven for business, science, and politics. But
this can only be done through holding conventions and exhibitions. Virtually
all countries vying to be global leaders develop their convention and
exhibition industry as a matter of government policy,» said Voronkov.
To learn more, watch
the full programme on Roscongress TV.