Exhibitions industry body seeks relaxation of Covid restrictions

Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA), the apex body of exhibiting and trade show industry in the country has urged the government to allow organising exhibitions, with all public safety measures, for survival of the industry.

S. Balasubramanian, President of IEIA said that Covid-19 has adversely impacted the ‘business exhibitions’ sector across India with a complete standstill since March 2020 continuing till date.

“Approximately Rs 3,00,000 crore of business and related trade has been affected due to non-holding of exhibitions in India this year with about 15 lakh estimated livelihoods affected who depend on exhibitions for their sustenance,” he said.

He noted that mass lay-offs, no work orders for the contractual service providers and lack of livelihood avenues for temporary ground workers add to the aggravation of the loss being suffered by the sector.

“Indian exhibition industry was growing at 10 per cent YOY during pre-covid period. The Industry is deeply impacted and is facing an unprecedented challenge. We are making a clarion call to the government to extend a supporting hand to this industry so that exhibitions can come back soon and start supporting various businesses,” said Balasubramanian.

The IEIA President said that support to the industry will not only boost India’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, but will also enable the revival of the national economy, create jobs as well as bring back the country to its growth path.

He added that the industry body has already prepared Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to organise safe and secure exhibitions in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and the same have been submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Commerce last month.

As exhibitions require a gestation period of six to eight weeks to organise, he noted that it is vital for the government to announce a date by when exhibitions can be restarted in a safe and sound environment.

“The human density for B2B exhibitions is not much different from a shopping mall or a railway/bus station and we can be ready to organise shows once we get the necessary approvals,” Balasubraminan said.

Brazil, which is even more affected by Covid as compared to India, along with various other countries including UK, Italy, Spain, Russia and many others have allowed exhibitions to restart owing to the significant multiplier role of exhibitions on the overall economy, IEIA President said.

He noted that IEIA, along with many trade bodies that organise exhibitions have approached the union government to allow organising exhibitions albeit with all public safety measures.

“While exhibition sector was excluded in the list of sectors allowed in Unlock 3.0, Indian exhibition industry appeals and looks forward to unlocking exhibitions by the Government of India to restart in Unlock 4.0,” he said.