Indonesia’s exhibitions industry keen to bounce back from pandemic-induced downturn


Collaboration and building confidence across all verticals are key to restarting Indonesia’s exhibition industry, shared panellists at the Restarting Indonesia’s Exhibition Industry Webinar on July 1.

Online events do work, in the sense that content and ideas can be shared easily, and it is easier to stay in touch with business contacts, shared Kai Hattendorf, CEO of UFI, but everything else that’s related to trade and transactions still need to be conducted face-to-face. These findings that Hattendorf shared were based on UFI’s polls on 15,000 exhibition attendees around the globe.

Andreas: need to show the government that the exhibitions industry is still up and running, albeit at a slower pace

As such, the UFI chief strongly believes that in-person events will continue to have a strong showing post-pandemic.

However, what Indonesia’s exhibition stakeholders need to do is to convince the government that business events are not mass gatherings. This is because as event organisers, it would be easier to “set up a safe environment”, such as having ample floor space, ensuring minimum capacity, and providing necessary safety measures, noted Hattendorf.

Hosea Andreas Rungkat, chairman of Indonesian Exhibition Companies Association, agreed that it is important to restore the government’s confidence that exhibitions can be conducted safely, as well as convince exhibitors and buyers that attending an event would be safe.

He added: “(Before the pandemic), the government did not pay much attention to the exhibition industry, as they were focused on (leisure) travel. However, after we showed the amount of losses suffered by the industry, the government began to think about how it can help revive it.”

Indonesia’s exhibition industry suffered a total opportunity loss of approximately US$3.1 billion in 2020. These numbers were based on 4.1 million square metres of projected exhibition space available, and is equivalent to US$10.5 billion in direct economic impact.

Andreas also called on all industry stakeholders to cooperate and continue to plan ahead for events, to show that the industry still exists.

Still, one of the good things borne out of the pandemic was how quickly companies learnt to adopt and deploy new event formats such as hybrid events and virtual expos, noted Susan Tricia, co-founder and group CFO of Fireworks Trade Media Group.

All these tech innovations can still be used when exhibitions return, Tricia pointed out.

Meanwhile, Björn Kempe, CEO of Expoasia voiced his confidence in the Indonesian exhibition sector, and indicated that international exhibition companies will still be interested to invest in both Indonesia, and Asia as a whole due to its vast potential.

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