However, Anbu Varatan was quick to add that the recovery will depend on the economic recovery of the country, vaccine scenario and travel guidelines.
Hyderabad: Even as the events and exhibition industry was hit the hardest due to the pandemic, it has also bounced back with virtual meetings becoming the new normal. Whether it is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) conference, most of them, across sectors, had moved online with technology and video conferencing platforms gaining traction. And according to experts, this trend may continue for the next six months even as the exhibition industry is showing signs of recovery.
Speaking about how the industry was hit in the last nine months and the road ahead, Anbu Varatan, newly-elected president of Union des Foires Internationales (UFI) said, “In the last nine months, the industry was down completely with no major activity happening. However, from December there are some shows to start in the last quarter with Aeroshows, Energy, and Pharma sector looking at physical events. Till April or May, India will see a gradual recovery. However, compared to its global counterparts, the country’s recoveries in the exhibition industry will be faster.”
However, he was quick to add that the recovery will depend on the economic recovery of the country, vaccine scenario and travel guidelines. He added that technology will play a major role in the exhibition space with digital platforms becoming the new normal to connect people both physically and virtually. It will also enable the industry to grow going forward.
In terms of the growth in tier-2 cities for the industry, Varatan said that non-metro cities will definitely play a major role as the spread of pandemic is much lower in those areas when compared with metro cities and also new sectors will be opened up once the non-metro cities start having these events.
The global economic impact on the exhibition industry due to the pandemic was $300 billion and the Indian exhibition industry is pegged at Rs 24,000 crore out of which the direct segment is only Rs 3,200 crore with the rest Rs 20,000-plus crore coming in from the connector segment like transport, travel and local hospitality. “All countries and markets were impacted and we are seeing a gradual comeback with some countries opening up for trade and events,” he said.