Following the withdrawal of a number of exhibitors from ICE London 2022 after its new April dates were announced, Chris Skeith, OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), CEO of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), whose members stage in excess of 1,700 trade and consumer events throughout the world, believes the relaxation of the government’s Covid regulations and the further easing of travel restrictions effective February 11 demonstrate that UK-based exhibitions are open for business and providing a Covid secure welcome to visitors and exhibitors from throughout the world.
As ICE London organizers complete final preparations to host 450 exhibitors who will be returning after a two-year Covid enforced absence, Skeith stated: “Thanks to the success of the vaccination programme the UK is leading the world in terms of reopening, and is very much open for business. The fact that Plan B measures have been removed for business events, there is no legal requirement for covid pass checks, lateral flow or PCR tests, masks, or social distancing, have been universally welcomed by organisers, venues, suppliers, and most importantly by visitors and exhibitors."
He added: “Organisers continue to use the All Secure Guidelines, previously approved by government officials, which is a dynamic risk assessed approach to create safe environments for customers. Venue research indicates that customers feel safe and secure, and whilst not a mandatory requirement many initiatives such as improved ventilation, and enhanced cleaning regimes are now standard practice. Feedback received from members who have run events indicate a great deal of pent-up demand from buyers, and whilst shows are understandably smaller than they were pre pandemic the satisfaction scores and re-booking rates are in many cases higher than they were prior to March 2020.”
Stuart Hunter, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming stated: “Those planning to attend ICE London, which is regarded by events professionals as being one of the UK’s pre-eminent business exhibitions, should be encouraged and re-assured that many shows are already running safely and effectively in venues across the UK and have generated a hugely positive response from buyers and sellers alike. With AEO research confirming that nearly seven out of ten buyers (69%) will recommend brands that they have engaged with at events there’s no doubt that the return of in-person represents a major opportunity for businesses and industries to bounce-back after a torrid two-years.”
ICE London will be held 12-14 April 2022 at ExCeL London. Merkur Gaming, NOVOMATIC, Zitro, and TCS John Huxley were among the first to cancel their participation as exhibitors. They were followed last week by Abbiati Casino Equipment, Euro Games Technology (EGT), Spintec, R. Franco, Quixant, Signs4U, REAC and Cash Support. However, Clarion Gaming has recently released results of independent research showing that 74% of industry professionals pre-registering for the event have confirmed their participation.