The coronavirus has stopped trade shows in China and postponed Fespa, but the respective organisers of the regional wide format show Visual Impact and the giant drupa event say they will proceed.

In Germany, drupa organiser Messe Düsseldorf has postponed its fairs scheduled for March and early April (up to April 3) but will press on with the giant print show in June, although this could change as the situation evolves. In a statement, it says, “Messe Düsseldorf GmbH is postponing the world leading trade fairs ProWein, wire, Tube, Beauty, Top Hair and Energy Storage Europe.  In close coordination with all partners involved, the company will promptly discuss alternative trade fair dates in order to guarantee planning can reliably proceed.

“In doing so, Messe Düsseldorf is following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German government to take into account the principles of the Robert Koch Institute when making a risk assessment of major events. On the basis of this recommendation and the recent significant increase in the number of infected persons, including in Europe, Messe Düsseldorf has reassessed the situation. Added to this is the uncertainty of numerous exhibitors and visitors at the events in March and the complicated travel situation, especially for international customers.

Werner M. Dornscheidt, chief executive of Messe Düsseldorf, says, “Our customers, partners and employees trust us. Not only when it comes to the professional and successful handling of major international events in Düsseldorf. They can also have this trust in us when we make decisions about critical situations in the interests of their safety”.

Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of the City of Düsseldorf and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Düsseldorf, says, “This decision was not an easy one for all concerned but the postponements at the present time are necessary for Messe Düsseldorf and its customers in view of the increasingly dynamic developments.”

Robert Laing from Messe Reps and Travel, says, “Obviously, the situation is evolving daily , everyone is monitoring the situation closely, Messe Düsseldrof is in constant contact with the relevant health authorities in Germany and at the moment its business as usual and There are currently no intentions to postpone the major trade fairs interpack and drupa, which will be held in Düsseldorf in May and June.”

Closer to home, Visual Impact, slated to run from April 29 to May 2 on the Gold Coast, will have added measures in place to protect against a coronavirus outbreak, according to supplier association, Visual Connections. Peter Harper, chief executive at Visual Connections, says, “We’ve been watching the situation carefully, of course, and our ultimate priority in every instance is for the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors and staff. However, at this point there is no indication that there is any cause to alter plans for the show.

“Our government has responded quickly and, I think, appropriately, anticipating possible scenarios and acting to prevent any significant escalation of the situation here in Australia. At present, these measures appear to be working very effectively, and we are confident that this cautious approach will pay dividends over the longer-term.”

“At this point, at least, panic around the disease has the potential to cause more economic damage and disruption than the disease itself. We are mindful that, as far as possible, it’s important to support all businesses in continuing to trade strongly, meet demand and build success.

“Industry expos and conferences play an important role in helping the industry’s decision-makers keep up with trends, plan their direction, and gather vital information to make important investments for the future. Visual Impact, together with the ASGA/Fespa Australia 2020 HP National Conference which will run alongside the expo, will provide that support, and we are obviously keen to see that continue.”

Harper acknowledges the situation is evolving daily, and adds his team remains in close contact with the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, to ensure well preparedness for a safe and hygienic environment for all its events.

The team at Visual Connections will continue to monitor the situation and will respond accordingly should any additional measures become necessary.

Visual Impact will run from Thursday 30 April until Saturday 2 May, at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre at Broadbeach in Queensland.

Click here to register for Visual Impact

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