Following the cancellation of prominent conferences and exhibitions since March 2020, due to government efforts to slow the spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus), the Greek MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry is counting losses that exceed 200 million euros.
A number of Greek conference/exhibition organizers and centers on Monday sent a signal of distress, stressing that they have been left “at the mercy” of the pandemic.
“The Greek MICE industry is the only industry that has not been allowed to restart since the start of the health crisis, with losses from the suspension of exhibition activities exceeding 200 million euros and leaving a tremendous economic and social impact,” the organizers said in a joint statement.
Signed by Athens Metropolitan Expo, Be Best, Exposystem, FORUM, Interform, Mediterranean Exhibition Centre (MEC), ROTA, TIF-Helexpo and Posidonia Exhibitions, the statement underlines that with all events canceled and the ban on organizing new events still in place, the future of the industry is highly uncertain.
“Exhibition organizers, exhibition centers and venue construction companies have been in dire straits, recording almost zero revenue for 12 months, and not included in any of the aid schemes applied to other sectors, such as F&B,” the organizers said, pointing out that more than 9,000 of the sector’s employees are living with uncertainty about what will follow.
The exhibition organizers remind that the MICE industry contributes greatly to the development of local economies by stimulating a range of economic activities, including the hotel, F&B, transport and leisure sectors.
According to data, for every one euro spent on an exhibition activity, another 6 euros are dispersed in the economy of the destination where an exhibition/conference is organized.
Furthermore, they stressed that MICE representatives have made repeated requests and held numerous meetings with state and business ministry officials to strengthen the industry but to no result.
“The Greek MICE industry must receive the attention and care it deserves from the State and to be included in plans to restart the economy, as it is a pillar for a number of individual professions,” the statement says.
On a final note, the exhibition organizers said that the industry is ready to reopen under strict health protocols and rules for the safety of both exhibitors and visitors as soon as the government gives the green light.