Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is for the Frankfurt fair- boss Wolfgang Marzin has become a kind of god of fate. And so he follows closely what the Federal Minister of Health and the Robert Koch Institute are currently saying. There is a great fear that there could again be "an occupational ban for our industry" or even just restrictions that make trade fairs more or less impossible. Even the most recent cabinet decisions on the Infection Protection Act don't really reassure Marzin. "No one knows exactly how things will continue," says the Frankfurt trade fair boss. After all, no one can predict whether the next wave of corona will bring restrictions that will also put a further strain on the trade fair.
The trade fair business has only just picked up speed again. After the premiere of Eurobike in July with 1500 exhibitors - more than expected - and 60,000 visitors - fewer than hoped - on the five days of the fair there was only an unusually short summer break, which ended with Achema. Due to the many postponements, the leading trade fair for the chemical process industry took place at a date that was unusual for the industry at the end of August and may therefore also have had 2,200 exhibitors, significantly fewer than before the pandemic (3,700), but brought a lot of international life into the halls.
The organizing Dechema Association is also satisfied with more than 70,000 participants from 127 nations. “The need for personal exchange is huge after such a long time. The exhibitors we spoke to and we ourselves had a successful trade fair, at which we held numerous discussions directly related to projects or investments,” says Jürgen Nowicki, Chairman of the Achema Committee and CEO of Linde Engineering.
Further recovery is inhibited
Messe Frankfurt CEO Wolfgang Marzin is also happy with the result: "Achema, which was once again a guest at Messe Frankfurt after the enforced pandemic break, was characterized by full halls, an exceptionally positive atmosphere and a clearly perceptible internationality," he said. All of this also contributes to a large extent to sales in the hotel, restaurant and transport industries, for example, "and thus to the prosperity of the city and region".
Marzin, who says of himself that he basically sees the glass as half full rather than half empty, is confident that the trade fair can still make a great contribution to promoting business in the Frankfurt area this year. He currently does not want to comment on how threatening corona scenarios could affect him.
Jörn Holtmeier, Managing Director of the umbrella organization of the German trade fair industry Auma, sees a difficult time ahead for the industry in view of the debate about further corona restrictions and because of high energy prices and inflation. On average, the number of exhibitors at German trade fairs since April has reached a level of around 70 percent compared to trade fairs before the pandemic, the association reports.
The average number of visitors was around 55 percent of the pre-corona level. The reason for this is the long-standing restrictions in the country and when entering Germany, for example in the recognition of foreign vaccinations. Currently, exit and entry restrictions in Asian countries in particular are preventing the further recovery in visitor numbers.
"Crucial German embassies and consulates are also not in a position to issue visas to foreign exhibitors and trade visitors for trade fairs in Germany in a timely manner," criticizes Auma. However, the visitors and exhibitors from Asia in particular are of enormous importance for the world's leading trade fairs in this country. And especially for the Frankfurt trade fair because it also organizes many events in Asia.
Great hopes for the Automechanika
In Frankfurt, great hopes are now being pinned on the Automechanika, which last September only took place as a Digital Plus format with a few real exhibitors. Now, however, more than 2,600 exhibitors have announced their attendance, 85 percent of which come from abroad, as reported by the trade fair.