GainingEdge tracks destinations open for business events

Capacity limits for destinations and how they are managing the return of business events.

Association and convention bureau consultancy GainingEdge estimates that more than 40 countries are open for business events, but most have capacity limits and other restrictions. Faced with the risks of second or third waves of infections and lockdowns, less than 10 destinations with effective suppression are fully open for large-scale events without capacity limits. But others are lining up, according to Rod Kamleshwaran, Partner at GainingEdge.

The research conducted also shows that as the pandemic continues to intensify in many emerging and developing economies, borders in over 100 destinations, including Canada, Australia and India, remain completely closed to visitors.

So, which are the destinations open for business events?

CountryMonth startingCapacity
ChinaMayNo size limit
TaiwanMayNo size limit
Hong KongMayNo size limit
KoreaMayNo size limit
New ZealandMayNo size limit
MalaysiaJuneUp to 250 people
ThailandJuneNo size limit but maximum 20,000 sqm
JapanJuneUp to 5,000 people
NetherlandsJulyLimit subject to social distancing capacity
GermanySeptemberLimit subject to social distancing capacity
United KingdomOctoberLimit subject to social distancing capacity
SingaporeOctoberUp to 250 people
UAEOctoberLimit subject to social distancing capacity

Some of the high profile expos on reopening include:

• The 2020 Hunan Auto Show, 20 April – 5 May with 62,000 visitors; daily cap 8,000 – Hunan International Convention and Exhibition Center,China

• MBC Construction Expo, 8-11 May with 45,000 visitors – KINTEX, Korea

• The 98th Hong Kong Wedding Fair May 22-24, 400 booths and daily cap of 3,000 visitors – Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

• Taipei International Graphic Arts Exhibition, 30 July – 3 August with 80,000 visitors – Taipei World Trade Center, Taiwan

Germany has led Europe’s return of large-scale events with the Caravan Salon Expo held 5-13 September at Messe Dusseldorf, attracting 107,000 visitors with a daily cap of 20,000. This is seen as the first large-scale expo with international (EU) attendance.

2020 SEMICON Taiwan scheduled for September is the first comprehensive hybrid trade show with international participants.

Venues in these markets are writing the playbook for hosting in-person events in a pandemic with extensive new protocols like pre-registration, temperature checks, face masks, gloves, elevated hygiene, social distancing, and density monitoring.

Virtual and hybrid events are filling some of the void. Kamleshwaran indicates it is difficult to determine how much demand for virtual events is driven by the free access, try-out, lack of physical options, and downtime. Drop-out rates on virtual events are high, but he thinks the consumer behaviour acquired will help the rapid improvement of digital platforms.

China’s Canton Fair in June was the first large-scale expo held entirely on a virtual platform, supported by Tencent. It attracted 25,000 virtual exhibitors but closed with mixed reviews.

Kamleshwaran says virtual platforms have an enviable window to enhance their offer as a serious commercial option if it is to retain a fair share of the gains made during this COVID-normal phase.

Featured image by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash