Overall, BSG estimates that Asia recorded a 63% drop in net space sold in 2020 compared to 2019 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
Of the large markets in Asia, Hong Kong was hit the hardest, with an approximate 95% drop in net space sold in 2020. This weak performance is expected to be repeated in 2021 as Hong Kong’s borders remain essentially closed going into the fourth quarter of the year.
“2020 and 2021 will go down in history as two extremely difficult years for event organizers. 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,” Mark Cochrane, UFI Asia/Pacific Regional Director and BSG managing director, said.
“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, 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. UFI and our members advocate for common sense measures to allow our industry and the region’s economies to recover,” Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director and CEO, said.
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For a deeper dive into the Asia trade show market and how it is regaining momentum after the slowdown, be sure to check out the December issue of Trade Show Executive. Not a subscriber? Click here to become one.