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RAI Amsterdam: ‘We’re ready to reopen following social distancing guidelines’

RAI Amsterdam is ready to reopen its doors in the short term while closely following all guidelines regarding social distancing. The RAI wishes to organise trial events during the summer to test the various ways that visitors and exhibitors can be safely brought together. All the required measures will be taken. A detailed roadmap will help the convention centre get back to business safely.

“Other large locations where many people gather together are already open or will do so shortly,” says RAI Amsterdam COO Maurits van der Sluis. “Examples include department stores and home furnishing outlets like IKEA. The major difference between these locations and the RAI convention centre is that we have an even greater surface area available to enable people to keep a safe distance apart. We are also able to adjust the way we operate in order to ensure that the rules are followed.” Van der Sluis adds that the RAI has an enormous complex of some 110,000 m2 at its disposal, allowing people to easily move around while practising social distancing.

Visitors to the RAI will be asked to register in advance, emphasises Van der Sluis. This will facilitate a clear picture of the expected number of people and ensure that the RAI can provide them with detailed information about the safety protocols and any additional behavioural rules.

“We primarily organise and facilitate business to business-events. People visit the RAI to do business with each other and this can certainly be carried out at an appropriate distance. Moreover, as the RAI arranges the layout of exhibitions and conferences ourselves, we can regulate visitor flows so that they strictly follow all Dutch government guidelines. We can set up special routes, ensure one-way foot traffic and organise staggered entry times. Our clients will work closely with us to make sure these and other measures are effective.”

In Germany a clear distinction is being made between exhibitions and large consumer events. The German government has placed exhibitions on its list of permissible sectors which also provide a major boost to the economy. This means that Germany could follow China in reopening its exhibition and conference industry.

The RAI has various international events on its agenda as of September. While the continuance of these events is important for the convention centre itself, it will also provide an economic impulse to the region as a whole as Van der Sluis explains: “Every euro spent at the RAI leads to around seven euros being spent in Amsterdam. Various trade events are due to take place in the RAI in the second half of the year that will make a significant contribution, including IBC, PROVADA and PLMA.”

Technology exhibition IBC which is planned for September, will bring an economic impulse of some 80 million euros to Amsterdam. Real estate exhibition PROVADA is scheduled for November as are Interclean (a major trade show for the cleaning industry, with a focus on Coronavirus-related hygiene) and METSTRADE (the world’s leading B2B platform for the leisure marine sector). The IT congress European Women in Technology and PLMA, the trade show for retailers and manufacturers, are on the programme for December.

The impact of trade exhibitions and conferences at the RAI goes further. These events also significantly enhance the related sectors due to the resulting connections and deals that will help reinvigorate economies. And then there is the value to society to take into account. Meetings in the RAI, such as those focused on health and fighting diseases, facilitate the sharing of vital knowledge. Last but not least, innovation is also stimulated.

Photo: Exhibition and conference company to hold test events this summer to ensure visitors and exhibitors can safely meet.