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Europe’s exhibition industry welcomes European Commission’s green certificate proposal and common path to safe re-opening

22.03.2021

“European Exhibition Industry Alliance (EEIA) welcomes the European Commission’s legislative proposal to create a Digital Green Certificate to resume safe travel in the EU. We now call upon the European Parliament and the Member States to ensure its quick approval and its swift technical implementation. We also expect that it will be interoperable with other international systems to facilitate travel on a global scale”, says Barbara Weizsäcker, secretary general.

The Digital Green Certificate is planned to be common, interoperable and mutually recognised within the EU, proving that a person has been vaccinated, tested or recovered from a Covid-19 infection. It will be free of charge, non-discriminatory and shall ensure minimum restrictions to travel. Additionally, the communication on a coordinated approach for lifting restrictions once the pandemic situation and vaccination coverage allow for it encourages the European exhibition industry. The conditions for harmonised re-opening must be set now, to allow for social and economic activity to resume. The framework to be developed by ECDC will be the basis to stop fragmentation and achieve aligned action. We also appreciate the special help mentioned to the tourism and culture sectors.

EEIA calls on the authorities not to neglect travel for business: “Attending trade fairs and professional events must be recognised as essential travel within the EU as well as for inbound international travel by all Member States”, says Barbara Weizsäcker. “We expect that unilateral prohibitive restrictions such as travel bans or quarantines be not applicable to travel for business reasons any more if travellers can prove vaccination, negative test or recovery from Covid-19”, she continues.

The exhibition and business events industry needs a clear perspective – the lead time is 4-6 months. Surveys show that companies, especially SMEs, miss the professional marketplaces for business, their platforms for innovation, knowledge transfer and scientific exchange. The industry is ready to re-open business events under strict and proven health and safety conditions. Prior to the pandemic, Europe hosted most of the leading international trade fairs. This is why the pandemic hit this sector particularly hard. In 2020, the exhibition industry in Europe has lost 68% of their usual revenue.

Safe and smooth travel is a prerequisite for preserving the sector’s position on the global scene and avoid losing market share to other regions in the world where exhibitions can already take place without restrictions. After one year of shutdown in the industry – with a small window of opening during last autumn – it is clear that digital solutions may work temporarily and as a complement but can never replace personal contacts that builds trust for business transactions. Empowering exhibitions and business events means empowering every industry, every sector. On top, it boosts economic activity and trade in general and generates considerable benefits for the travel and tourism sector.

 
 

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