The European Exhibition Industry Alliance (EEIA) in a position paper welcomes the move by European countries to lift internal measures and restrictions on international travel but calls for immediate adoption of an updated framework to travel from outside the EU that is fit for purpose. The association expects a coordinated implementation of such a framework across all member states and encourages the Council and all member states to specifically enable smooth business travel and to protect the safe functioning of the economy and its exhibition platforms for R&D, innovation and trade.
"We see encouraging signals from many EU member states and other countries in Europe that have started easing restrictions or lifting these entirely, such as Denmark, Greece, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, Sweden, to drive trade and tourism", the position paper states, and continues: "The effect, unfortunately, is again a patchwork of rules across Europe resulting this time in a disorderly race for reopening, while collaboration and harmonised policies would be more helpful. Therefore, the European exhibition and professional events industry urges the Commission and the Council to swiftly adopt coherent common rules."
„The events industry urges swift adoption of coherent common rules.“
EEIA requests that all vaccinated travellers should be allowed to travel into the EU, including vaccines not listed or recognised so far by the WHO or EMA. And only for these, a safeguard of an additional negative test result – ideally an antigen test – should stay in place. Additionally, and as a safeguard for the European exhibition industry, the list of "specific categories of travellers with an essential function or need" should include exhibitors, visitors and providers to exhibitions, trade fairs and professional events, the association states: "With that, we can avoid another crash in our industry in the future in case of the emergence of new variants and subsequent potential constraints to travel."
Even though in most member states trade fairs and other business events may go ahead while respecting strict sanitary provisions, travel restrictions reduce the participation of exhibitors and visitors substantially, so that in many cases international exhibitions shrink to regional events or must be postponed or cancelled entirely as companies cannot find their expected audiences and consequently decide not to participate.www.exhibition-alliance.eu