Trade Shows Move Ahead While Addressing Coronavirus Concerns

March 3, 2020

While trade shows throughout the globe are continuing to cancel due to fears of COVID-19, some major events in the U.S. and Germany are forging ahead. They’re leveraging strong and transparent communication plans to reassure concerned attendees and exhibitors that their health and safety remain a top priority. 


CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE will be taking place as planned at Las Vegas Convention Center, March 10-14. According to a statement on its website, the show is not only closely monitoring the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, but is also working proactively to reduce any health risks at the event. While some of the show’s international exhibitors and attendees will not attend the shows due to travel restrictions and the spread of the virus in China, Italy and South Korea, CONEXPO is still expecting more than 130,000 attendees, according to show officials.

Overall, the expected cancellations of China-based exhibitors and attendees will have a very limited impact on the shows, representing less than two percent of the almost 2.7 million net square feet of exhibit space and 1 percent of registrations, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE is staying transparent with its participants by providing regular updates and posting a list of precautionary protocols it will be following to keep its attendees and exhibitors safe at the show.


With no reported cases of COVID-19 in Clark County or Nevada, EXHIBITORLive officials say that so far, they’ve experienced no cancellations except from international exhibitors traveling from areas where air travel has been restricted. 

Set to take place March 29-April 2 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the show for event marketing professionals says it is also monitoring the situation via the CDC and the WHO while actively working with health agencies, venues and suppliers to stay on top of the latest information and guidance available, according to a statement on its website.

As of press time, EXHIBITORLive is expecting an estimated 225 exhibitors and nearly 5,000 attendees. 

IMEX Frankfurt

Although IMEX Frankfurt is still several weeks away, it is continuing to “plan confidently for the show,” according to a dedicated COVID-19 page on its website. Set for May 12-14 at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany, IMEX officials say there are no plans to postpone or cancel despite the cancelation of major events across Europe within the past few days.

According to a statement from IMEX officials, “This unprecedented situation is changing daily so we remain watchful, but also focused on delivering what is an extremely important event for the global business events community.”  

In addition, IMEX says it is in daily contact with its global partners around the world and in Europe, with the German Convention Bureau, Messe Frankfurt and the Frankfurt Tourist Office and the appropriate authorities, including national and global travel and health advisory bodies. IMEX is also consulting with experts on the appropriate sanity and health measures and plans to take all appropriate measures at the event.  

In its messaging, IMEX is also encouraging calm, cool-headedness and reliance on science to separate fact from fiction while preventing further panic during this time of uncertainty. 

“COVID-19 is presenting the business events and travel industries with an unprecedented global challenge,” reads a statement from IMEX officials. “The IMEX team are passionate believers in, and advocates for, the substantial social and economic power of meetings and events. We know that the negative long-term impact of speculation, hype and over-reaction will be damaging not just to our industry, but also to your local communities and business as a whole. We feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility to focus on the facts and to act with common sense and sound judgement, taking the advice of the relevant authorities and scientists.”

TSNN is continuing to monitor the rapidly changing situation regarding COVID-19’s impact on the trade show industry. Check back regularly for more updates.

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact