Even though parts of the U.S. are seeing less stringent CDC mask guidelines, suggesting that normalcy is slowly returning, the pandemic rages on in many other areas of the globe. In addition to causing tragic losses of life, the coronavirus also continues to present challenges for live events, particularly those of a global nature. As a result, Messe Berlin and gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH have jointly announced that IFA 2021 will not be held in September.
The decision was made following detailed conversations with public health experts and multiple stakeholders. Ultimately, several key global health metrics did not move as fast in the right direction as had been hoped for—from the rapid emergence of new COVID-19 variants, for example in South Asia, to continued uncertainties about the speed of the vaccine rollout around the world. This in turn is adding uncertainty for not only the the companies committed to attending but also media and visitors.
Also a consideration is that Messe Berlin continues to support the fight against COVID-19 by converting parts of its exhibition area into a vaccination center and an emergency hospital facility; both are now likely to be required for longer than originally anticipated.
“We did not take this decision lightly,” said Messe Berlin CEO Martin Ecknig in a statement. “However, the health and safety of everybody has to be absolutely paramount.”
IFA, which is held every year in Berlin, has a particularly international footprint, making pandemic-era logistics even more complicated. Approximately 245,990 attendees from more than 130 countries attended the last full version of IFA in 2019. That’s a lot of travel plans and visas.
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