AEO chief executive confirms safety of UK exhibitions

Chris Skeith, OBE, chief executive of the Association of Event Organisers, believes the relaxation of the government’s Covid restrictions demonstrate that UK-based exhibitions are open for business and providing a Covid secure welcome to visitors and exhibitors.

Chris Skeith said: “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.”

Skieth 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 said: “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.”