“Return to normal” is a loaded term. Members of industry from certain countries where COVID rates remain high – such as India, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico – may struggle to gain entry into countries or regions where the incidence of the pandemic has plummeted, generally as a result of effective vaccination campaigns. And, even in those nations, a maze of obstacles have been set up, including obligatory PCR testing at the point of departure and arrival, serology testing for those who have been vaccinated and want to avoid quarantine, and various mask wearing regimes, often differing from country to country, city to city and event organizer to event organizer. Airline travel is back, but flights are liable to be canceled and delayed, sometimes at a moment’s notice.
While these new facts of life are cumbersome and stress-inducing, a growing number of industry members are ready to take the plunge, reconnecting with their travel agents and dusting the cobwebs off suitcases, which for more than a year had been gathering dust under the stairs.
To be certain, the travel schedule of most will still be considerably leaner than they were, way back in 2019. But for an industry in which air travel, hotels and trade shows have so long been a part of the modus operandi, it’s time to back on the road.
MASKS AND DISTANCING IN LAS VEGAS
The JCK Show in Las Vegas, which was canceled in 2020 and missed its regular time slot of late May and early June this year, is nonetheless scheduled to run in the middle of summer, from August 27 through August 30.
In a special section on the show’s website, Reed Exhibitions, the show’s organizers state: “At JCK and all Reed Exhibitions events, your health and safety is our top priority. As part of this commitment, we’ve taken proactive steps and implemented new guidelines and policies to help support a safe experience and will continue to update you here as safety standards evolve.”
In the United States, where more than half of the eleigible population has now been vaccinated, the CDC has relaxed mask-wearing instructions, but at JCK they will we in force – at the very least that is what Reed is saying at present.
Everyone will be required to wear an approved face covering while attending JCK, and also will be required to undergo a temperature screening prior to entering the exhibition hall. The organizers say that they have adjusted the layout and implemented exhibitor guidelines and requirements to promote physical distancing, requesting that attendees maintain a distance of 6 feet, or 2 meters, between themselves and others. And also asking that people greet each other without shaking hands.
As it did in September 2021, the Italian Exhibition Group is planning to run a live event again this year in September.
UNCERTAINTY IN QUARRANTINED HONG KONG
The status of the giant HKTDC Watch & Clock Fair is uncertain. While the website of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council still shows the trade fair as scheduled to take place September 8 to September 12 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, very few details are provided and the organizers have not issued a formal press release since August last year.
The Hong Kong show’s status is complicated by a number of problems, one of which is a strict quarantine regime that demands all persons arriving in the city, who have stayed in places outside China during the three previous weeks, have to undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days in a designated hotel.
In contrast, as it did in September 2021, the Italian Exhibition Group is planning to run a live event again this year. The VicenzaOro show, which last year ran under the name Voices, will take September 10 to 14, as planned.
“Safety will be at the top of the agenda in every moment and in every aspect of Vicenzoro,” the organizers noted in a statement. “By applying #SAFEBUSINESS by IEG, the plan launched in 2020 to ensure a safe and agile trade show experience.”
IEG is the first trade show and congress organizer in Italy to have obtained, for all its premises, GBAC STAR™ accreditation. It is a global certification program that certifies international standards of cleanliness, disinfection and infectious disease prevention for facilities and staff.