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Serious concern over Chillventa 2020

GERMANY: The Chillventa 2020 organiser is facing the possibility that this year’s event might not happen or, if it does, it may be more national in content.

Scheduled to take place in Nuremberg from 13-15 October, this biennial event is the central, worldwide meeting place for the refrigeration, air-conditioning, ventilation and heat pump community. 

While the German trade fair industry is hoping to restart events in September, this is far from certain, and now even Chillventa is coming under question. The organiser has taken the unprecedented step of conducting a survey of registered exhibitors and visitors of Chillventa 2018 to seek their opinion.

The coronavirus epidemic has already led to nearly 2,400 exhibitions being cancelled worldwide. In Germany alone, 469 exhibitions, with around 20 cancelled or postponed at the NurnbergMesse, where Chillventa is due to be held. 

Petra Wolf, the recently re-appointed head of Chillventa, admitted that the situation was “a matter of serious concern”, especially when it comes to autumn events like Chillventa. 

Nevertheless, she reported that Chillventa continues to develop “at a very good level”, with more than 800 exhibitors from around the world already committed to participate. “That is the same level as at the same time in 2018,” Wolf said. The previous event was a record with over 35,000 visitors and 1,019 exhibitors.

“We are unable to tell what will happen next, but we hope very much that we can hold trade fairs again in September. As industry and communication platforms, trade fairs in particular will be essential for quickly and sustainably reopening and growing the economy in the autumn,” said Wolf. 

The organiser has been in discussions with Chillventa’s Exhibition Advisory Board, which represents a cross section of the industry, exhibitors and associations. In addition, it has been in close communication with its subsidiaries in Brazil, China, India, Italy, North America and Austria, as well as its international network of more than 100 representatives around the world.

In addition, the organiser is seeking opinions from all participants via an online survey.

“We have given thought to the question of how we think Chillventa can proceed. We will not hold an event against the wishes of the industry, but only with and for the community. The results will serve as a gauge for our decisions related to Chillventa, which we will make in consultation with our Advisory Board in the best interests of the refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation and heat pump community,” Wolf said.

Petra Wolf admitted that, in any event, the 2020 event will be different from previous events.

“The worldwide travel restrictions could possibly still be in effect in the autumn,” she said. “In all probability, Chillventa will be considerably more national in terms of both exhibitors and visitors. Moreover, we will need to get used to keeping physical distance and wearing mouth-and-nose protection. In any case, we will heed and implement all recommendations of the government authorities, the WHO, and the Robert Koch Institute. We are in close communication with all relevant ministries and authorities and thus we will be able to react quickly.”

In addition, NurnbergMesse intends to implement an extensive safety and hygiene plan to protect all those involved in the exhibition. This plan covers a wide range of measures from mandatory facemasks to hand hygiene. Managing crowd density will also be an important aspect for maintaining sufficient distancing. 

Starkly, Petra Wolf said: “Finally, it cannot be ruled out that Chillventa cannot be held this year due to official restrictions. We have also included this contingency in our considerations. For this case, we are already working on digital solutions for Chillventa and the Chillventa Congress, although we do not think that a virtual trade fair is a substitute or alternative for face-to-face interactions.”

Cooling Post readers are invited to participate in the survey here.

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