The slowdown experienced in the global economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic gradually shifts into the ‘new normal’ which entails the revival of social and economic life. One of the examples of the process in Turkey, International Food Products and Processing Technologies Exhibition – WorldFood Istanbul is counting down to open its doors for the 28th time at TÜYAP Fair Convention and Congress Center.
As the days of quarantine are left behind and the measures applied have been lifted in our country as of March 2020, Hyve Group, one of the leading organizers of trade exhibitions in Turkey and the world, is preparing to organize Turkey’s first “new normal” exhibition. Underlining that they have developed their measures taking into account the methods used in the national and global fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Kemal Ülgen, Regional Director at Hyve Group, one of the world’s leading exhibition organizers, stated that Hyve Group is preparing for the WorldFood Istanbul by adopting a health-first approach. Ülgen continued his words as follows:
Health screening guide for visitors will be used as a reference source
We will organize the WorldFood Istanbul on September 2-5 and the Exhibition will open its doors adapting to the ‘new normal’ for the exhibition industry and COVID-19 measures. The measures will be implemented right away at the entrance gates. Considering the national and global measures and after the consultations with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Commerce of the Republic of Turkey, we have developed two separate guides for the exhibitors and visitors. Our visitors coming to the venue, where entry without a face mask will not be allowed, will see the foot disinfectant mats at the entrance gates. Hand sanitizers will be located all over the exhibition area and periodic announcements will be made to pay attention to the physical distance. Waste bins assigned only for medical wastes such as face masks and gloves will be available. The Health Screening Guide, in which we explain the measures that our visitors should take in detail, will be our basic reference source.”
‘Exhibitor Manual’ is prepared in compliance with COVID-19 measures
Stating that occupational health and safety experts will check the stands within the scope of the COVID-19 measures, Ülgen added that stands that don’t comply with the ‘Exhibitor Manual’ will be modified accordingly. Reminding that, in addition to this, an Exhibitor Guide is designed.” Ülgen expressed that it will also be mailed to all Exhibitors:
“We will strictly enforce our measures for the health and safety of everyone and monitor the implementation of them. Everyone entering the venue will be checked. Those who show symptoms with a body temperature above 37.5°C will be directed to the Emergency Health Service area located right next to the exhibition entrance for the surveillance of the experts and assigned personnel. One-way traffic will be implemented to conserve physical distance in halls and corridors. One-way directions will be implemented. In this way, we will be able to visit stands while maintaining social distance.” Ülgen also underlined that virtual commerce will gain importance at WorldFood Istanbul.
Hybrid exhibition concept will be experienced
Reminding that the exhibition industry contributed €167.2 billion to the world GDP and €3.2 million to the countries’ employment needs across the world in 2019, Ülgen said that total sales of $325 billion were made in 32,000 exhibitions held all around the world in 2019. Ülgen continued his words as follows:
“Of course, it will not be possible to reach these figures in 2020. However, we will get a chance to observe the coordinated and efficient cooperation in the areas of traditional commerce and virtual commerce more clearly. Our Hyve Connect application that we have been using since 2018 will make an important contribution at WorldFood Istanbul, which will be held at TÜYAP on September 2-5. Hyve Connect, which we use in more than 120 trade exhibitions that we held globally and which is found to be quite useful by buyers and exhibitors will bring together international buyers who are unable to attend the event with the exhibitors via digital platforms. The buyers who can make it to our exhibition will get the opportunity to meet our exhibitions within the scope of the measures taken.
Adding that it will only be possible for the industry to go digital once all industries go digital along with the exhibition industry, Ülgen stated that high volumes of investment are required to achieve this transition. Ülgen further said that in this regard, the transition can only take place gradually and the completion of this transition without negatively affecting the industry and employment is critical for the global economy.
“Unfortunately, the exhibition is one of the worst-hit industries due to the crisis. However, we should keep in mind that trade exhibitions are the only places that will provide the acceleration required by global trade after the pandemic. The mission of the exhibitions, which brings together producers and buyers, creates platforms for thinking where new economic order is discussed and offers environments where new ways of doing business and business initiatives are addressed, will always be important.
Virtual trade will be implemented for the first time in WorldFood Istanbul via Hyve Connect
All our exhibitors and visitors have been able to schedule their meetings and benefit more from our exhibitions thanks to our application developed for use in our exhibitions for the last 2 years. Our application was implemented to be accessible to all exhibitors, visitors, and users wanting to develop a professional business network. Application content is designed to enable all kinds of visitors to do scheduling and make the right business connections during the exhibition.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Hyve Connect users could organize their daily meeting schedules and broaden their business networks; moreover, our exhibitors and visitors were able to follow the sessions that attract their interest by adding the special events programs that we designed for our exhibitors and visitors to their daily schedules. In addition to these, following the COVID-19 period,
- Virtual Meeting option has been added to Hyve Connect according to the needs and to maintain social distance.
- In this way, users will be able to video chat with the professionals they want via a virtual platform during the exhibition and provide information about their products to each other using the application.
- Following the COVID-19 period, our exhibitors will be able to promote their brand better by adding product images, pdf files, and videos they want to their profiles.
- Virtual meetings, on the other hand, will help our exhibitors to establish a more efficient business network; and they will be able to speed up their processes by making quick discussions in private sessions with the hosted buyers.