As in previous years – only this time under the special circumstances of a contraction in the worldwide economy –, IFEMA is joining the trade fair industry to demonstrate the importance of these fairs and the essential role they play in reactivating business and the economy. To do so, IFEMA is joining the celebration of Global Exhibitions Day # GED2020. This initiative promoted by the Global Exhibition Industry Association (UFI) and the Spanish Trade Fairs Association (AFE) unites organisers, trade fair operators, venues, convention centres, associations and service providers from around the world to highlight the value and importance of trade fair activity, precisely at a time when fairs have been so strongly affected by the current health situation.
Globally, the trade fair industry holds more than 32,000 commercial events every year in 1,217 venues around the world to promote commercial and business relationships in all economic sectors, involving 4.5 million exhibitors and 303 million visitors per year and generating 3.2 million direct and indirect jobs. These figures demonstrate the industry's significance, not only in reactivating and revitalising the economy, but also in terms of its contribution to world GDP with €167 billion.
According to AFE, last year the Spanish fair market registered a total of 424 fairs and congresses with exhibitions, involving more than 49,800 exhibiting companies - 24.7% international - and 9.7 million visitors - 29.2% international. The contribution to the national GDP made by trade fair activity in 2019 was €6.5 billion , as well as generating 123,000 jobs.
In an unprecedented international context marked by the spread of COVID-19, this celebration day is a good time to appreciate the work that the entire trade fair industry is undertaking during these months to adapt protocols and plan the necessary measures and services to guarantee safety, health and mobility for all the professional communities involved as their activity is gradually restored.
Each year, IFEMA holds around 800 gatherings involving more than 33,000 companies and 4 million visitors. The numbers remind us of its position as the leading trade fair operator in Spain and one of the main players in Europe, as well as being a major economic engine for Madrid. Now more than ever, these figures underline the need to recover the fair and congress activity that IFEMA carries out in Madrid as a key to economic recovery, while naturally guaranteeing the measures required by the current situation. In this context, the institution is working on adjusting its venues and its management in preparation to return to activity. Looking ahead to the last four months of this year, IFEMA will be hosting over 60 international events to help companies resume their businesses and contribute to economic reconstruction.