Messe Frankfurt, the organiser of Europe’s biggest bathroom trade event, ISH, has been forced to cancel the live element of the show due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
ISH 2021 will now take place as a purely digital event on March 22-26.
The announcement follows a period of extreme uncertainty for the exhibition, during which it lost the support of two of its biggest exhibitors – Grohe and Hansgrohe – after they both withdrew their commitment over Covid-19 safety fears.
In a statement Messe Frankfurt blamed the “tightening of travel restrictions” and “growing uncertainty among trade fair customers” as two of the main reasons behind its decision to make ISH 2021 an online-only event.
It added: “As a result of the course taken by the pandemic, Messe Frankfurt will not be holding any of its own physical trade fairs at the Frankfurt exhibition grounds between January and March 2021. The company is revamping its spring trade fair calendar to focus on new synergies and new digital offerings.
“Messe Frankfurt has already organised 13 large trade fairs at various locations in China since the crisis began. Unfortunately, however, it is not possible to hold such events in Germany at present. This is in spite of the fact that exhibition halls are amongst the safest enclosed buildings in which people can spend time without being subjected to an increased risk of infection. The halls can be continuously resupplied with fresh air, and in conjunction with the measures included in our extensive hygiene concept, people could safely do business in person here on the Frankfurt exhibition grounds.”
The online only version of ISH 2021 will include exhibitor presentations (products, information, videos, contact persons, chat functions and one-to-one video calls), intelligent matchmaking that delivers suitable business partners for AI-supported lead generation, live streams and on-demand broadcasts of the supporting programme, and appointments for online meetings with exhibitors.
This development coincides with recent confirmation by the organisers of Interzum that bookings for the 2021 show in Cologne next May are on a par with the same time for 2019 and that more than two-thirds of the planned exhibition area is already taken.