As Hesse’s Minister President Volker Bouffier put it: “Trade fairs are marketing and communication platforms for industry and trade. New contracts worth many billions of euros are concluded here, knowledge is shared here, and economic activity in our state is stimulated here. This is exactly what we need in the corona crisis.”
Peter Feldmann, Mayor of Frankfurt am Main: “Our exhibition grounds are our city’s calling card in every respect, and when events – such as our traditional Frankfurt Book Fair – resume here soon, that will increase sales for hotels, restaurants, bars, taxi companies and many other businesses. These activities all generate tax revenues and – even more importantly – safeguard large numbers of jobs.”
Messe Frankfurt is looking ahead with confidence. “Although it is still impossible to forecast what will happen with travel regulations and the conditions of travel, for example, we are very pleased that the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair can take place. We believe that this decision sets a precedent for the event industry and for the economy as a whole,” says Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt. Fellow Executive Board member Uwe Behm, who is responsible for guest fairs and for the operation of the exhibition grounds, adds that: “Together with our medical advisers, in close cooperation with the Health Department of the City of Frankfurt and with the support of the State of Hesse, we have developed a sophisticated safety and hygiene concept for holding trade fairs and congresses on the Messe Frankfurt exhibition grounds.”
The Messe Frankfurt Executive Board has made it clear that ensuring the health and safety of all employees, exhibitors and visitors is its top priority. With an area of approx. 600,000 square metres – equivalent to 84 football pitches – the Frankfurt exhibition grounds offer the space necessary to accommodate large numbers of people while maintaining the required social distancing. Not only do trade fairs and congresses draw responsible individuals interested in doing business, but events also benefit from professional and proactive crowd and visitor management. Furthermore, Messe Frankfurt’s professional hygiene management system draws on expert medical advice, and its spacious, high-ceilinged exhibition halls are supplied with large volumes of fresh air. Air in the exhibition halls can be fully replaced by fresh air as frequently as five times per hour.
Safety measures also include the provision of protective equipment, such as face masks and disinfectants, and ensuring the availability of medical care and expert medical advice. Buildings will now be cleaned even more frequently, while employees, hosts and hostesses, lift operators, service and catering personnel will receive special training.
All event participants will be subjected to a comprehensive registration process, and visitor numbers will be limited. Tickets will be issued for particular dates and make use of specific time slots for admission. To avoid placing additional burdens on local public transport, visitors will be encouraged to travel to the event by car, with extensive parking and shuttle services available. Close contact will be further limited thanks to contactless access controls, electronic admission tickets and electronic payment. Aisles in the exhibition halls will be widened and one-way-travel systems implemented to facilitate compliance with social distancing regulations. Behm is certain: “Our safety concept ensures that there will not be any jostling or close quarters in Frankfurt’s exhibition halls.”
With its comprehensive range of safety measures that fully accounts for the coronavirus regulations instituted by the State of Hesse, Messe Frankfurt’s safety and hygiene concept is more than sufficient for the current circumstances. The situation continues to be volatile, and it is not possible to reliably forecast what the future might hold, so it goes without saying that Messe Frankfurt is prepared to work closely with the authorities to institute any additional measures, such as temperature screening at entrances, that might become necessary. This well-founded decision to hold trade fairs and congresses on the Messe Frankfurt exhibition grounds sends a promising signal for future face-to-face business encounters and successes and for opportunities to experience products live and in person.