The resumption of the fairs and conventions of the different industrial sectors of Latin America will help the economic reactivation and mark the evolution of the growth of the companies, according to experts.
After achieving an annual growth of 20 percent in the last five years, the pandemic has prevented the celebration of fairs and conventions in 2020 and for this year some events are expected during the second semester with strict health protocols such as the Smart City fair in Mérida (Yucatan).
The trade fair sector generated nearly 60,000 million dollars in Latin America in 2019 and constitutes an economic engine in the region, Manuel Redondo, president of Fira Barcelona Mexico, one of the most important business meeting organization companies in Mexico, explained to Efe. the region.
“What we have learned from the pandemic is that face-to-face events are essential to close deals. Digital events are fine, but they are not enough. They are complementary to face-to-face because contracts are finalized in person,” he said. Round.
“Even telecommunications companies and the digital world prefer face-to-face events. For this reason it is important that the normality of the holding of large and conventional fairs is restored,” he said.
Brazil and Mexico are the two large Latin American countries that organize the most events of all types of sectors of the economy and in both countries it is estimated that the recovery of business meetings is slow to the point that the figures obtained before the pandemic are not they will last until 2023 or 2024.
“The inevitable cancellation of business meetings has highlighted the importance of this industry for development and socio-economic reactivation,” added Redondo.
Before the pandemic, about 32,000 fairs and exhibitions were held in the world, generating a total economic impact of more than 325,000 million dollars and the creation of more than 3.2 million jobs, according to a report The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry ( UFI) and Oxford Economics.
In Latin America, more than 3,000 exhibitions were held in 2019, attracting 410,183 exhibitors and 68,540,806 visitors.
A study by the firm Explori indicates that two-thirds of those who exhibit at business events consider that the cancellations of these meetings have had a significant detrimental impact on their business.
Nine out of ten considered that alternative solutions, such as virtual events, are not as effective in meeting professional needs as face-to-face events.
Mexican companies in the sector had high expectations with vaccination for the return of face-to-face events, but clearly 2021 will not be the year of return to normality, said Celia Navarrete González, president of the Association of Professionals of Exhibitions, Fairs and Conventions .
The Intermoda 2021 fair, considered the largest fashion event in Latin America and which was held in Guadalajara (Jalisco) in January, was a good example of organizing a business meeting with all possible health precautions, although still with restrictions and limitations. .
Looking to the future, 66% of the organizations in the sector consider that covid-19 will fundamentally change its operation due to the need to innovate and create solutions for the current context.
A MICE Travel Report study reported the business meetings industry in Mexico as promising, generating an economic income of 24,970 million dollars, equivalent to 1.5% of the national GDP and attracting 2.7 million visitors, which places it as the main destination within the region.
These figures will not be reached again until 2023 or 2024, although Navarrate estimated that the business model is not in danger because the virtual does not replace the face-to-face.
“Digital tools help to keep certain audiences captive, but you cannot substitute face-to-face,” Navarrete said.
“We are therefore going towards hybrid events with strict health protocols and virtual events for a part of the population interested in attending the events, but not necessarily in doing business,” he added.
Manuel Redondo said in this regard that “the business meetings industry is the engine of economic development for the countries of Latin America. Today more than ever we must give it the social value that this type of meeting deserves since, precisely, they have a direct relationship with economic development itself. “