Institutional news

Cabecera interior

“The future of fairs will adapt to the environment but without losing the essence that makes them a fundamental tool for the economy”

Interview with Eduardo López-Puertas, General Director of IFEMA

04 Jun 2020

When do you plan to start holding events again?

Our aim is to resume full activity by September, and with this in mind we are working on the calendar, assessing all possible scenarios in terms of security measures, and equipping ourselves with the technology and tools that allow us to use new kinds of formats with some of their content, but with a greater focus on risk due to the impossibility of maintaining the safety distance, such as in B2B meetings, or professional and training meetings, which may be presented in virtual form. However, we are starting up in July with a new SICUR Special COVID conference that will offer a hybrid form to open the doors for all industrial sectors to the wide range on offer of biosecurity products, equipment and services. We will then continue with the MBFWmadrid parade, which has also been prepared as a mixed event if need be, or the large-scale Fruit Attraction, which is also developing an entire strategy around the model of hybrid fairs and events.

What measures have you taken/will you be taking and what changes have been implemented/will be implemented in order to restart the activity while keeping clients and staff safe?

We are working intensively on all the measures and protocols necessary to guarantee maximum safety and health for all the professional communities that come together at our fairs, congresses and events. We have created a Health and Safety Control Unit that will be responsible for assessing all the risks with the planning and supervision of all organisational and management aspects that facilitate the application of all the implemented measures.

Here technology is also particularly important, since it allows us to add various elements from body temperature detection systems to access control and crowd sizing systems, to keep the requirements of concurrence in the same place in a perfect balance, and to maintain the minimum distances.

But we are also implementing mobility management measures to monitor the movement of people; access control, digitalisation of the registration process, including the management of public transport, taxis, etc., to avoid interruptions and concentrations when entering and leaving the venue. Nor are we forgetting the reinforcement and optimisation of environmental measures, as well as the hygiene, cleaning and disinfection of all areas.

How do you see the future of the sector? What changes or evolution do you foresee in the short, medium and long term?

The most immediate future of the fairs and congresses sector depends on a redefinition in terms of finding solutions that allow events to be adapted to the new demands that this health crisis has placed upon us. Fortunately, the development of technology is facilitating this transformation towards a hybrid model between face-to-face and digital, offering content that used to required exclusively personal encounters now in other formats that allow professional and business relationships at a distance and the transfer of knowledge, among other aspects.

However, fairs are based precisely on people meeting in search of new business opportunities, knowledge and inspiration. For this reason, the future of fairs will continue to be adapted to their environment but without losing the essence that makes them a fundamental tool for the economies of their countries. Which is no obstacle to all these developments we are now seeing and which are allowing the sector to restart its activity, since they are here to stay, evolve and improve, and thus provide our industry with greater flexibility, productivity and intelligence.