NEW DELHI: With pandemic-induced lockdowns and travel restrictions, the business events industry undoubtedly took many hits. Within the industry, the global exhibitions category recorded a 68 per cent contraction.
That is according to a white paper from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Professional Convention Management Association and The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry that was released on Monday, report agencies.That is some ways away from 2017 figures, when the industry generated US$2.5 trillion in output, and contributed US$1.5 trillion to global gross domestic product.
But the white paper suggested more optimism in the near future, as event organisers and attendees alike learn to navigate digital spaces.
In the Asia-Pacific, these sentiments seem to be strongest as “exhibitors in Asia are now much more optimistic about their budgets”, according to the report.
Respondents in Asia were also more than twice as likely to have participated in digital or hybrid events than those from other regions.
As a result, the exhibitions industry is set to reach global revenues 106 per cent higher than 2020 figures, according to the report. A panel discussion organised by Singapore MICE Forum (SMF) and IBTM Wired to launch the white paper also cited online events and other digital solutions as opportunities for growth,
Chief executive officer of GlobalSign.In and virtual event platform GEVME, Veemal Gungadin, said during the panel: “I think the digital component of events is here to stay. Attendees, sponsors and exhibitors are starting to see and extract value out of that, and as organisers and event owners, we have to now start to learn how to best utilise the digital component.” But organisers and suppliers will have to navigate new questions and challenges in the digital and hybrid environment. For example, the panel noted that content offerings that may have been enticing in on-site environments might lose some appeal when presented online.