ISE goes ahead with February 2022 dates in Barcelona
ISE is due to continue its scheduled February 1-4 show at Fira de Barcelona, Gran Via, despite higher Covid infection rates in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and the advent of the variant highly transmissible Omicron.
Integrated Systems Events chief executive Mike Blackman told AV Magazine this week that the show will take place with the approval of Spanish authorities.
He was speaking in the wake of the postponement and even the cancellation of other European shows, including the educational technology fair BETT, which was moved from January 19-21 to March 23-25 at ExCel London. The Embedded World electronics fair was also postponed from March 15-17 to June 21-23 in Nuremberg, Germany, while the IBC broadcast technology fair in the Netherlands, which was scheduled to take place from 3-6 December, has been completely canceled.
“Germany, the UK and the Netherlands are suffering pretty badly right now. It’s pretty clear that due to local regulations, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, and planned regulatory changes in the UK, it’s difficult for these shows to go as desired. Currently, Spain has said it will not close its borders although it is considering additional restrictions for the Christmas period. Based on the Spanish regulations, we believe it is normal to move forward, ”said Blackman.
A survey of major exhibitors showed that the majority wanted ISE to go ahead as planned, he added. “One company said, ‘What happens when there’s a fifth wave, a sixth wave, a seventh wave, an eighth wave, and a tenth wave? Covid is going to be around for a few years – I predict we will have another five years where there will be other variants, however slight. It’s gonna be a question of when will you stop doing anything? When do you say I’m going to stay in bed and lay down under the covers and when do you say, “These are the things I need to do and this is the way I need to behave to keep doing business.”
Blackman said the experience of the previous year had shown cases to increase in December and decrease from January. “There is nervousness there,” he added. “We see a lot of people waiting because there’s always this chicken and egg thing with people who don’t want to get involved until they know who will be there. Typically we see the majority of our registrations happening in January. “
Registrations are currently behind 2020 but well ahead of the problematic year of 2021, with the percentage of totals from previous years increasing. “We’re pretty confident we’re not going to hit the kind of numbers we had in 2020, but we still think we’re going to have a good show,” Blackman said. “There is a lot more confidence in the number of exhibitors and participants. “
Considering the pre-fab element of many ISE stands, shipments have already arrived in Barcelona and some exhibitors have already had to ‘push the button’ during stand construction.
“When you’re in our business there are a thousand things that can go wrong and all you can do is prepare for what to do when it goes wrong,” Blackman said. “Obviously we have a Plan B and a Plan C and a Plan D but I can tell you now, the show is the show until the show is not the show.”
He concluded: “If the Spanish government turns around and says we’re closing the doors, you can’t put on a show. If our exhibitors, over 700 of them, say that we are not coming, then the show will not take place. But the exhibitors say they want it. The Spanish government does not want to stop us. There are announcements coming up, and we have to watch and see what’s really going on, but for now we’re moving forward. “