By M Q Syed 
Editor : TradeFairTimes 

This is a matter of disgrace for the Event & Exhibition sector leadership for not understanding the effect of wiping out of a considerable number of FaceToFace Exhibitions, many, in the want of permissions from the government authorities.

Organisers are losing confidence, sectorial jobs are on a continued slide, economy is getting to it’s lower best, venues are bleeding to operate, event services contractors are shutting shops, and exhibitors are not finding customers yet there are no efforts by any of the associations leadership to aggressively lead the way for the sector.  

In spite of the central Government’s approval for exhibitions with revised guidelines issued on 1st Feb 2021, gatherings of more than 50 people for exhibitions and events in a designated Exhibition Venue has been suddenly restricted in Maharashtra causing postponement of the OTM 2021 to April. 
After two successful, physical events in Kolkata and Ahmedabad, the season’s finale OTM Mumbai was all set to upswing the sector’s confidence in Maharashtra.

The state government has no data though on a single COVID 19 case contracted from any event in the last six month, yet the heat is only on Exhibitions and Events. Mumbai local trains are running literally with no social distancing norm followed, shopping malls are operating with no restrictions on the numbers, the public meetings in the state panchayat elections addressed by political leaders can be seen flouting all social distancing norms, cinema halls and performance theaters are allowed to have fifty percent of occupancy without any upper ceiling, restaurants and hotels have similar guidelines allowance of fifty percent capacity, yet the exhibitions and events are the softest target for the authorities.

For record,  we have Indian Convention Promotion Bureau(ICPB), Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA), Indian Exhibitions, Events & Conferences Services Association (IESA), Event & Entertainment Management Association(EEMA), and a few more. I am, too somehow connected as founder or active member of few of these national associations, however, despite writing about it in TFT time and again and pushing these committees to take immediate measures, the leaderships in all these associations have not bothered to take up any issue. 

The newly constituted Council of Indian Exhibition Organisers (CIEO), where I am also a co-founder is trying to aggressively reach out to Venues for discounts and government for the revised SOP’s and support to the Organisers.However with little achievement.

HITEX is the first Venue to come forward and extend support to CIEO’s request, ITPO leadership has given appointment to CIEO Steering Committee after many follow-ups, but leading Venues such as Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), Bombay Exhibition & Convention Centre (NESCO), Expo Centre (IEML, Greater Noida) have yet not responded to the follow-ups on the support to Organisers. 

The recent signature campaign by the CIEO is somehow getting industry support, however,  it’s yet to see with respect to how might the public authority react to the call of amending the SOP. 

TFT appeals to all of the Industry leaders to come together at this time of need. Time for all of us to get together and aggressively fight for our industry. We must win this war against pandemic.

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