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Attendees walk the CDEPE show floor in Chengdu, China in late September.

In Some Countries, the Show Is Going On

China and Italy are among the nations allowing exhibitions of considerable size right now.

For the North American meetings industry, the big news recently was the opening up of Las Vegas to business events up to 250 people in smaller venues and up to 1,000 people or 10 percent of a venue’s maximum capacity in larger venues. But in other parts of the world, events with many thousands of attendees are taking place, albeit with health-safety restrictions in place.

In Chengdu, China, a city of nine million that’s a four-hour drive from the most-populated city in the world—Shanghai, with 27 million residents—late September saw the 16th edition of Chengdu International Environmental Protection Expo (CDEPE), the only green-technologies expo held live in western China. Co-produced by the Sichuan Environmental Protection Industry Association and Europe China Environmental Exhibitions, a subsidiary of Italian Exhibition Group, the event drew more than 19,000 attendees and exhibitors and used more than 220,000 square feet of space for 20 educational sessions (photo below) plus the exhibits.

ChinaShowB.pngAccording to Corrado Peraboni, CEO of IEG, about 75 percent of the available exhibit spaces were occupied, “an extraordinary figure considering the economic situation caused by the world health emergency and, above all, proof of exhibitions’ value.” In addition to the mostly Chinese companies that participated in person, dozens of foreign firms participated remotely via videoconference-based appointments with attendees. This included joint participation between seven Italian enterprises: Enea, GM Green Methane, HBI, Mega System, Sumus Italia, TCR Tecora, and Veolia-Evaled. 

CDEPE is a sister show to a significantly larger one that’s going to happen in person in Rimini, Italy, from November 3 to 6. Ecomondo—an event that typically gets upwards of 80,000 attendees—comes to the Rimini Expo Centre this year with about 70 percent of its show floor occupied, notes Alessandra Astolfi, group brand manager for the green-technology division of IEG. In addition, “we analyzed the requirements of exhibitors, trade and business associations, and the scientific community, and established three separate entrances, 36 different rooms, and fitted out the right equipment for the transmission of events via streaming” to address social-distancing needs.

In fact, “we have introduced a large amount of innovation to organize these expos,” Peraboni adds. “We have worked on different safety protocols, from the setting up of the exhibits to catering and other elements to ensure the experience is safe. IEG has borne all the costs of the efforts for these safety protocols so that exhibitors only have to think about their business and knowledge meetings.”

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