The COVID pandemic has hammered trade shows in Asia with a drop of 63% in net space sold in 2020 compared with 2019 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means net space sold fell from 24.5 million square metres in 2019 to just 9.1 million square metres in 2020.
These are the key results of the 17th edition of the annual UFI/BSG report on the trade fair industry in Asia, providing a snapshot of an industry reeling from an ongoing crisis. The report, compiled by BSG in Hong Kong, provides a best estimate for the actual performance of the industry in 2020, as well as commentary on 2021 and the outlook for 2022.
„Recovery will play out on a market-by-market basis “
Net space sold in the majority of trade fair markets fell by more than 80% in 2020. This figure includes some of the larger, more important trade fair markets such as Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and Australia. Relatively strong performance by China prevented the regional average from falling further. Trade fairs in China's key exhibition cities operated relatively normally from July to December 2020 – albeit with greatly reduced international participation. In 2020, China's net space sold fell approximately 54% compared with the regional average of 63%. As a result, China's regional share of net space sold jumped from 59% in 2019 to 75% in 2020. This surge in China's regional share of net space sold is expected to be temporary, and will likely return to around 60% in 2022 and 2023.
UFI Asia/Pacific regional director and BSG managing director, Mark Cochrane, noted, "2020 and 2021 will go down in history as two of the most difficult years ever for event organisers. Although hopes are high for recovery into 2022, a number of factors continue to hinder a potential return to 'normal' – including new COVID-19 variants, government policies, vaccine rates and travel restrictions."
Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director and CEO, commented, "This is a global crisis that has hit every one of UFI's members. As expected, net space sold in Asia in 2020 decreased significantly by an estimated 63%, however our industry will recover and will continue to play an essential role in Asia's economic resurgence. Complete recovery will play out on a market-by-market basis, which makes this report more valuable than ever."www.ufi.org/archive-research/the-trade-fair-industry-in-asia-17th-edition-2021-leaflet-2