We are determined to show the South African Government and key stakeholders that exhibitions can be hosted safely, with all the required COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place. The Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) commends Specialised Exhibitions and Johannesburg Expo Centre for leading the way by organising The Restart Expo. This unique event is a small scale exhibition designed for Government, industry, media, PCO’s, exhibitors, and visitors to see what exhibitions will look like post-COVID-19.
The Restart Expo will take place at the Johannesburg Expo Centre from 25 – 26 November. This exhibition will host a small exhibition, seminar theatres, meeting areas, and a business lounge on the exhibition floor. All these zones will be designed with social distancing in mind and full COVID-19 protocols in place. The speaker programme will focus on solutions to the business tourism industry challenges and initiate dialogue around business concerns.
“The Restart Expo is an opportunity for government authorities and officials to attend the show to see how exhibitions and events can be held in strict accordance with COVID-19 protocols and requirements, and be confident that the exhibitions and events industry is ready to move ahead and reopen,” says Craig Newman, Group Chief Executive Officer of GL Events South Africa and former President of UFI.
This exhibition is proudly supported by UFI, the Global Association of Exhibition Organisers. UFI reiterates that exhibition formats allow organisers to steer visitors in their journey through the exhibition, unlike other large events. This structure is evident in registration, arrival and entry, navigation of the show floor, meeting spaces, auditoriums, catering, and sanitary options. Exhibition venues are designed specifically to host this event and manage visitors to their site according to strict local authority security policies and international safety standards. Adding further measures to ensure COVID-19 regulation compliance will not be difficult to accomplish for exhibition organisers.
As a forum for trading, networking, learning, and product sourcing, exhibitions are the marketplaces and meeting places for entire industries – regionally, nationally, and internationally. Globally, exhibitions are a much-needed fast track to drive the economic recovery after COVID-19 – especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, who represent the backbone of every economy and for whom exhibitions and face-to-face events are a leading sales channel, says UFI. In addition to the industries they serve, exhibitions also contribute to regional development and generate revenue for the travel and tourism sector, as well as hotels, restaurants, retail, and transportation.
Trade shows and exhibitions are likely to come back even stronger than before. The face-to-face format generates sales leads for exhibitors, enables them to demonstrate their capabilities and is an opportunity to meet with their largest clients and potential new customers.
AAXO Chairperson, Projeni Pather, believes that we need to work quickly to ensure that our 2021 exhibition calendars unfold according to our plans. “ On behalf of the AAXO Board and membership, we applaud both Specialised Exhibitions, and The Johannesburg Expo Centre for taking the lead to ensure that our industry is reignited,” says Pather.