IMEX Frankfurt 2020, which was scheduled to run May 12-14, 2020 at Messe Frankfurt, has been cancelled.
In a statement on the show’s website, IMEX Group chairman Ray Bloom and CEO Carina Bauer explained that though they would have liked to wait longer, two key factors influenced their decision to cancel the show at this time. The first factor is the German health minister’s call for a ban on events of over 1,000 people, which has been endorsed by the state Hesse where Frankfurt is located and may have required them to cancel the show. The second was the fear that they could not guarantee the large-scale, high quality hosted buyer program that exhibitors expect from the show.
Here is their statement.
Message from Ray and Carina
11 March 2020
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.
Whilst only a short time ago we felt optimistic that May was far enough away to confidently proceed with our plans, as it stands today [11 March] we cannot guarantee the one thing that our exhibitors trust us above all else to deliver – namely a large-scale, high quality hosted buyer programme.
In an ideal world we would wait and see. But we are in the real world and we cannot, in all good conscience, ask our exhibitors to continue to invest money against which they may not get a return.
Both of these factors – uncertainty around whether IMEX will be allowed to proceed, as well as doubts as to the number of buyers who will be able to attend – have led us to the conclusion that we now have no option but to cancel IMEX in Frankfurt.
A decision based on facts
We want to make it very clear that we have made this decision based purely on the facts as we know them today and, importantly for the whole IMEX team, based on the responsibility and genuine care we feel for all our clients and the global business events community.
IMEX is our family business and the business events community is the only community we serve.
We have tried today to take the best decision for the industry and we are so thankful for the support that has already been shown to us. Quite rightly many of you see yourselves as friends and members of the extended IMEX family. This is precisely why we’ve thought long and hard in the past few days, consulting in depth with partners and stakeholders across the industry before making this announcement. Our strapline “We Are All Connected” has never felt more true, nor more important.
Committed to serving the industry
Despite the disappointment and impact we know you will feel, we want you to know that we’re fully committed to serving this industry that we love. We’re already working hard in the background to deliver value and service above and beyond the trade show you were looking forward to and will announce these plans in the near future.
We intend to keep morale high and, together with leaders around the world, to focus on collective efforts to rebuild confidence and advocate for the power of business events to aid economic recovery once this situation is over.
The IMEX team will also be working hard to deliver a successful IMEX America (15-17 September) with plans to recognise 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.
Once again, we thank the whole industry for the support that has been shown to us and we are here to support others in the industry as we all work through these difficult times.
Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group
Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group