"I am hoping the situation in the Czech Republic and Europe in general will calm down in the coming months and we can start the trade fair season from the end of August. We have adjusted the preparation schedule for the MSV, our most important show, so that companies have greater certainty about the feasibility of the fair happening. We are intervening with the Czech government as much as we can ", says Jiří Kuliš, CEO, about the current situation of the Brno Trade Fair Co.
What is the situation in the Czech Republic?
The government took drastic measures early, including the closure of borders. The life was switched off. We sewed the masks and respected the hygienic regulations. So, the epidemic is under control and the numbers are encouraging. On the other hand, the economy, including us, has suffered. Trade fairs were banned along with mass events such as festivals, concerts, sports matches. We object that trade fairs behave like shopping centers and we ask for trade fairs to be excluded from the undefined category of mass events. Trade fairs are primarily a B2B platform where traders meet, not the general public.
But do some fairs have high attendance?
In some cases, 50–100 thousands people visit out shows, but within a few days. Attendance is distributed during the day, on a large area of the exhibition center in Brno. That is our main argument. This is not a stadium where there are twenty thousand people at once. Trade fair organizers have experience in regulating the movement of people. I see no reason why governments should ban trade fairs when shopping malls are opened. It would be discriminatory.
What are the other obstacles besides the events ban?
The biggest obstacle is the closed national borders in the Schengen area. The EU has stopped to exist in this sense. One cannot travel to Europe from other countries. Free travel is disrupted. This is a huge problem for trade fairs, especially those that are truly international. For example, half of the exhibitors and a fifth of visitors from abroad take part in the International Engineering Fair in Brno. Exhibitors from Germany, Italy, Austria, Slovakia and Switzerland are important, as well as from China, India, Turkey, Russia. Foreign exhibitors also expect foreign visitors from neighboring countries. Travel must be reopened, otherwise the international trade fairs cannot work.
The flagship of BVV is the International Engineering Fair (MSV). How does his preparation look like?
Even in mid-March, interest was relatively greatest in recent years. Now everyone is waiting. We and the exhibitors are insecure and need a light at the end of the tunnel and the confidence. We have extended the deadline for submitting applications until the end of April, now until May due to the extension of the state of emergency in the Czech Republic. We ask everyone undecided to log in. We'll delay invoicing, but we need to start preparing the show.
Please visit https://www.bvv.cz/en/msv/ for up to date information.
CzechTrade team Calgary