By Maggie Yu
The Shenyang New World EXPO reopened on March 10th 2021 for its third time due to previous governmental mandated COVID related closures in January, April, and December of 2020. The activity following clearly indicated the resilience of the exhibition industry in Shenyang, Liaoning’s provincial capital city, as well as within the northeast region of China.
Five major events were held within EXPO in the last three weeks of March including the 2021 Shenyang International Advertising Festival, the 2021 and 23rd North International Exhibition of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Comfortable Home Systems, the 2021 and 22nd China Northeast International Dental Equipment & Affiliated Facilities Exhibition Symposium on Oral Health, the 2021 and 26th China Northeast International Building & Decoration Exhibition, and the Fang Guan Jia Real Estate Agency Annual Conference. The attendance for the five events totaled 187,952.
“From the reopening in July of 2020, all events have been successfully held; organizers have fully respected the COVID-19 procedures which have been approved by Shenyang’s health related bureau,” said Diane Chen, EXPO’s General Manager. “Plans put into action by EXPO included implementation of measures to minimize the causation of virus transmission, strict social distancing protocols, utilization of data and technology to support contact tracing and testing, and focus protocols and communications to reinforce behavioral change to address the new procedures. Attendees have been very cooperative with COVID procedures, e.g., wearing masks, body temperature checks, and distancing when queueing during entry. Visitors have been happy to sanitize their hands and most willing to show their personal health code before entering the venue. Through March 2021, no suspected COVID cases were reported. All the attendees are traceable using organizer registration systems and health codes”.
Shenyang’s health commission, commerce bureau, and public security bureau were included as an extremely important part of EXPO’s reopening team. All team members continually shared the most updated epidemic information and were available to respond to stakeholder questions regarding the status of the epidemic. Also used was the regular updates on operational advice from UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and the International Association of Venue Managers. EXPO is an active member of both industry associations.
Cliff Wallace, CVE, Senior Executive Advisor to EXPO, noted that government bureaus were and continue to be very proactive in supporting the exhibition and conference industry and EXPO’s reopening. Wallace said, “On 24th February 2021, Ms. Wang Ping, the Deputy Director of Shenyang Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Mr. Lian Zhiyong, the Head of Emergency Office of the Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, attended EXPO the 4th Organizer & Contractor Co-ordination Meeting encouraging all organizers to cooperate with EXPO’s COVID Prevention Procedures to facilitate the restart the exhibition industry. I was delighted to see the Commerce and Public Security Bureaus actively supporting the reopening by granting the event licenses expeditiously and on time considering the last minute decisions required of the organizers. A high level of cooperation by Government is critical in such emergency and crisis situations.”
Quarantine control measures remain in effect for visitors entering China from outside the mainland. This is similar to other countries globally. The exhibition industry remains challenged until international travel resumes. Both Chen and Wallace remain optimistic that the continual administration of the COVID vaccines and ability to verify that visitors have received the vaccine will be the most effective short term enhancement for the industry’s meaningful restart.
Maggie Yu is in Communications at the Shenyang New World EXPO.
Photo: The 22nd China Northeast International Dental Equipment & Affiliated Facilities Exhibition Symposium on Oral Health