Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no Hanover Fair this year. This is the first cancellation in the show’s 73-year history. In place of the physical fair, the organizers intend to create a digital information and networking platform.
The world of industry will not meet in Hanover in 2020. With the coronavirus looming, fair organizers already had postponed the exhibition from April to July, but comprehensive travel restrictions, bans on group gatherings and a prohibition decree in the Hanover region have made it impossible to stage the trade show at all this year. At the same time, the corona crisis is affecting the economy, and the manufacturing industry, the show’s core clientele, is struggling with the serious consequences of the pandemic. Demand and revenue in German and worldwide industries are declining, and the crisis has led to supply bottlenecks, production stops, and reduced working hours for employees.
"Given the dynamic development around Covid-19 and the extensive restrictions on public and economic life, the Hanover Fair cannot take place this year," says Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Board of Management, Deutsche Messe AG. "Our exhibitors, partners and our entire team did everything they could to make it happen, but today we have to accept that in 2020 it will not be possible to host the world's most important industrial event." The Hanover Fair will return next year on April 12-16, 2021.
This is the first time in the Hanover Fair's 73-year history that the event will not take place. The event survived multiple financial and economic crises as well as the untimely eruption of the unpronounceable Icelandic vulcano Eyjafjallajökull. However, the organizers don’t plan to let the show vanish completely, as they see a particularly important need for orientation and exchange in these times of crisis. The organizers are currently working on a digital information and networking platform that will open soon for their customers. Various web-based formats will enable exhibitors and visitors to exchange information about upcoming economic policy challenges and technological solutions. Live streams will transport interactive expert interviews, panel discussions and best-case presentations all over the world. The online exhibitor and product search are also being enhanced, for example with a function that enables visitors and exhibitors to contact each other directly.
Virtual or digital trade shows and platforms might be an alternative for now, but the personal contact and networking opportunities offered by events like trade shows are irreplaceable. Companies and industry associations have already expressed their willingness to return to the event next year and emphasized the importance of face-to-face contact with their customers, experts and peers.