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Hannover Fair is now cancelled, not postponed

26 March, 2020

The organisers of the Hannover Fair have now cancelled the 2020 event after the regional government issued a decree prohibiting the staging of the world’s biggest industrial trade show in the light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Originally the organisers had hoped to postpone the event from its original dates in April until July this year. Now, they say, the next fair will take place from 12–6 April 2021. Until then, they add, a “digital information and networking offer will provide exhibitors and visitors with the opportunity for economic policy orientation and technological exchange”.

“Given the dynamic development around Covid-19 and the extensive restrictions on public and economic life, Hannover Messe cannot take place this year,” says Dr Jochen Köckler, chairman of the organiser, Deutsche Messe. “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.”

It is the first time in the Fair’s 73-year history that the event will not take place. However, the organisers do not want the show to vanish completely. “The need for orientation and exchange is particularly important in times of crisis,” says Köckler. “That is why we are currently working intensely on a digital information and networking platform that we will open to our customers shortly.”

Various Web-based formats will allow exhibitors and visitors to exchange information on economic policy challenges and technologies. Live streams will carry interactive expert interviews, panel discussions and best-case presentations around the world. The fair’s online exhibitor and product search is also being enhanced, for example, with a function that enables visitors and exhibitors to contact each other directly.

“We firmly believe that nothing can replace direct, person-to-person contact and we are already looking forward to the time after Corona,” says Köckler. “But especially in times of crisis, we must be flexible and act pragmatically. As organisers of the world’s most important industrial trade fair, we want to offer orientation and sustain economic life during the crisis. We are doing that with our new digital offering.”

Thilo Brodtmann, executive director of VDMA, the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, describes the cancellation as “an unfortunate decision”, but “the only correct one”. The mechanical engineering industry, he adds, must now concentrate on minimising the consequences of the pandemic in its own operations so that it can start up again. “In April 2021, the engineers will be back in Hannover in full force.”

Exhibitors and visitors will now have to wait until 2021 for the next Hannover Fair

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