IMEX Group cancelled its IMEX Frankfurt exhibition, which was scheduled for May 12-14 in Frankfurt, Germany, due to German federal and state government concerns over the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual meetings, conventions, incentives and events industry trade exhibition bills itself as the largest such event in the world and draws upwards of 10,000 attendees.

The move to cancel the exhibition was made after the German Health Ministry requested organizers of events attracting more than 1,000 attendees cancel the events as a preventative measure to minimize the spread of coronavirus. Similar requests and requirements have been made in other destinations globally.

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Statement on IMEX Frankfurt Cancellation

In announcing the decision to cancel IMEX Frankfurt, IMEX Group issued the following statement:

It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of this year’s IMEX in Frankfurt (due to take place 12-14 May).
We know that this will come as an enormous disappointment, not only to the exhibitors, buyers and industry professionals who were due to attend the show, but also to the global business events community.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly and there are two overriding concerns that have caused us to make this decision at this time.

First is the uncertainty caused by the fact that the German health minister has recently called for the ban on events with over 1,000 people which some German states have already endorsed, including the state of Hesse where Frankfurt is located. This announcement makes the probability of factors outside our control forcing us to cancel the show at the last minute much higher.

Second, our primary concern is always the responsibility we feel towards our exhibitors and partners, who fund the show—not only by purchasing stand space but also in the considerable additional investment they make in everything from the build of stunning stands to the hosting of buyer events.

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IMEX America Plans to Proceed

In issuing the cancellation statement, IMEX Group stressed that its IMEX America exhibition, scheduled for September 15-17 at Sands Expo in Las Vegas, is still a go:

The IMEX team will also be working hard to deliver a successful IMEX America (15-17 September) with plans to recognize the 10th Anniversary of the show already in full swing. We hope that the business events world will join us in Las Vegas to celebrate our great industry.

IMEX Leaders Contemplated Cancellation

IMEX Group has been contemplating the viability of the event since late February in the wake of the cancellation of multiple large convention and events, including the cancellation of ITB Berlin, which bills itself as “the world’s leading travel trade show.”

At the time of the ITB Berlin cancellation, IMEX Group leaders Ray Bloom and Carina Bauer issued the following statement:

“We remain in daily contact with our partners around the world and in Europe. We’re also in regular communication with our partners in Germany (the German Convention Bureau, Messe Frankfurt and the Frankfurt Tourist Office), as well as the appropriate authorities, including travel and health advisory bodies nationally and globally,” the statement read. “As this situation is changing daily, we remain watchful but also focused on delivering a very important event for the global meetings and events industry—IMEX in Frankfurt.”

Tradeshow Industry Response to Cancellations

In the wake of the massive number of coronavirus-related major tradeshow cancellations, two tradeshow and exhibitions industry organizations, the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) partnered with UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, banded together to launch the “This Show Is Open” campaign.

The campaign urges organizations that hold meetings to download, display and distribute a ‘This Show Is Open’ logo to show solidarity with the meetings and events industry.

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