The global exhibition industry recovery is accelerating, with global exhibition revenues expected to reach 71 per cent of 2019 levels this year, according to the latest UFI Global Barometer.
Australia is leading the recovery and is expected to return to normal activity levels during the first half of 2022, alongside India and Malaysia.
Globally, the industry expects two-thirds of markets to operate at normal levels in the second quarter, and one-quarter of the global market to operate at reduced activity levels.
In terms of operations, the proportion of companies declaring “normal activity” has increased from less than two in 10 in July 2021, to around four in 10 between October 2021 and February 2022. And this looks set to increase to around six in 10 companies expecting normal activity levels from March 2022.
Subsequently, the proportion of companies expecting “no activity” dropped from 34 per cent to 16 per cent during the second half of 2021, and only 4-5 per cent of companies expect no activity from March 2022.
When asked what elements would most help towards the “bounce-back” of exhibitions, seven in 10 companies selected “Lifting of current travel restrictions”, while five in 10 selected “Readiness of exhibiting companies and visitors to participate again”, “Mid-term visibility in terms of public policies, including travel restrictions” and “Lifting of current public policies that apply locally to exhibitions”.
“The sun is finally rising at the end of a long, dark pandemic,” said Kai Hattendorf, managing director and CEO at UFI.
“The perspectives for 2022 are brighter and continue to improve quickly. As the industry bounces back, the key issues now facing companies are around internal management issues and the impact of digitisation. As the value of physical events is constantly reinforced, we are well on track to achieve pre-pandemic levels of activity.”