The system is structured to give trust to local authorities in enabling exhibitions to reopen based on the assured implementation of agreed standards on health and safety.

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has released a worldwide system for the safe and regulated reopening of exhibitions and B2B trade events around the world. In consultations with politicians and authorities worldwide, the paper aims to become a de facto normal.

The system is composed of a professional task force of partners and industry leaders whose operational recommendations represent changing worldwide regulatory conditions. It offers an advocacy account as to why exhibitions must be prioritized for reopening, which UFI has industry partners to support.

All sides of the design and execution of exhibits are addressed, from the show setting to a significant reconsideration of the consumer experience. This seeks to provide governments and public health agencies all over the world with the knowledge they need to again confidently show green light.

“The capacity of associations to lead and encourage dialogue and discussion through industry is essential to a crisis such as the Covid-19 outbreak,”says UFI President Mary Larkin.

“UFI prides itself on a network of members and collaborators at the leading edge of the growth of the trade fair industry and hence, we have some of the world leaders working in this process. We hope the industry will join hands in supporting this initiative and help to make the process associated with the recovery of our industry.”

The structure is intended as a working document subject to continuous feedback to provide concrete examples. The benefit of the system is therefore not only operational, but political.

The system contains approximately 30 elements to ensure that exhibits will take place in a secure setting. It includes areas such as security and community protection, physical distance, enhanced safety and health regulations, implementation of crowd control and compliance regulations, both before, during, and after the event.

The industry will, through its adoption and promotion of the system, not only guarantee a unified approach to its day-to-day administration, but reopen talks with authorities and governments at all levels — the bodies that allow exhibitions to take place.

In order to provide more feedback and extend the system with specific examples of good practice worldwide, UFI will continue the exchange with promoters, sites, services providers and industry associations. Continuous communication with the entire industry would increase the effectiveness of the system as well as the probability of stakeholders complying by its specified health and safety guidelines.

Managing Director and CEO of UFI, Kai Hattendorf, says: “Exhibitions are different from other big events. Crowd management, guest traffic and operating policy adherence can be handled closely. A solid structure makes a strong argument for the restart and further growth of this critical industry.

“Tradeshows will resume their rightful position as a proven fast track for trade and market recovery by encouraging the health and welfare of all exhibition participants.”

The system will be at the forefront of this year’s operation for the World Exhibition Day and the organization will campaign for the role of exhibitions in launching national economies.

The following organisations, who are a regional representative of the exhibition market, were part of the Task Group to plan and decide on this process.

Exhibition organisers

Clarion Events, Informa Markets, Reed Exhibitions, Tarsus Group

Organisers and venues

Corferias, Dubai World Trade Centre, Fira de Barcelona, GL events, Koelnmesse, La Rural, Grupa MTP, RAI Amsterdam

Exhibition venues

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Johannesburg Expo Centre, MGM Resorts International, Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre, Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Centre, The NEC


AEO – Association of Event Organisers, AEV – Association of Event Venues, AFIDA – Asociacion Internacional de Ferias America, AUMA – Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, EEIA – European Exhibition Industry Alliance, ESSA – Event Supplier and Services Association, IELA – International Exhibition Logistics Association, IFES – International Federation of Exhibition & Event Services, SISO – Society of Independent Show Organisers and TCEB – Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau

Service providers/general contractors

Freeman, GES and GL events

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