Trade Show Madness . . . Right now if you
look, there are (count ’em) no less than four, and maybe more live
cargo trade shows on the boards to be held between August 1st and the
end of 2021.
In the U.S., the original Cargo Network
Services (CNS) that currently is operated out of IATA offices in Switzerland,
after the agency shut down the CNS management team in the U.S. says it
will meet in Miami August 26-28.
TIACA, having landed former IATA Head of
Cargo Glyn Hughes is set for September 26-28 in San Francisco.
IATA World Cargo Symposium as this is written
June 15, with Brendan Sullivan named Acting Global Head of Cargo, meets
October 12-14 in Istanbul and Air Cargo Americas says that it will meet
less than two weeks later in Miami, October 26-28.
Add to those events pop-up meetings, as
publications and other organizers go for the gold in various locations.
Worth noting in all of this is, that FIATA,
the oldest association of them all, cancelled their annual FIATA World
Congress scheduled for this October in Brussels, Belgium choosing instead
to move to their next World Congress event 2022 in Busan, Korea.
As we read it, FIATA regretted the cancellation
but given the threat of COVID, the organization founded 100 years ago
in Vienna, would not go ahead with an event, that based on attendance
might not deliver as expected, for its attendees, membership, and stakeholders.
Of course the financial return for Brussels
played into this, as advanced reservations were certainly impacted by
raging COVID-19 in several parts of the world.
So the question is: will the industry,
that has been socially meeting on Zoom calls and other web platforms for
the past year and a half show up in sufficient numbers face-to-face that
will allow for five or more events this year?
The clue to an answer to that question may
lie in the website presentations and sales pitches for these events.
In most cases it appears that each of these
shows are campaigning to build attendance without much of a session content
It’s tough for example to find topics,
speaker lists and other information.
IATA WCS for Istanbul does have sessions
listed but at a mere fraction of any previous WCS.
Topics aside, it is impossible to find any
current attendance numbers for these events informing prospective attendees
how many people have already signed up.
Blanket numbers of how many people attended
past events are not relevant in this COVID-19 world.
Will Istanbul as example end up with 100
IATA people and 200 attendees? And of the 200 attendees, currently there
are 37 publication sponsors/attendees.
But even more pertinent we think is taking
a reality check on just how many show events will the airlines and their
service partners support.
A quick look at industry publications and
websites underscores every media outlet for air cargo experiencing what
can only be described as a meltdown loss of advertising from the airlines
Recent Miami Bitcoin 2021 conference, biggest-ever cryptocurrency
gathering has some attendees on social media now claiming testing
positive for COVID-19.
Miami Herald reported Luke Martin,
a Bitcoin podcaster, tweeted: “Miami was incredible . . . surrounded
by smart, humble, hard-working, and genuinely good people. Love you
all. I also feel like I got hit by a truck with a pinch of COVID.
So I’m catching up on sleep, water, and food. Back to work tomorrow.”
To suppose that all of a sudden, while COVID
grudgingly gives ground in some places and rages on into new strains elsewhere,
air cargo industry people will all of a sudden be tradeshow hopping come
August through the end of this year is, to say the least, far-fetched.
And what about all the dictates of various
locations and countries for COVID tests before entry and departure at
Airlines are required to have tests within
72 hours of leaving a country and before you get to go home you will need
So there you are, for a two or three-day
event, spending time and money, making sure once you’ve arrived,
you can also get out of town.
Guidance of what to expect in this “new
normal” as far as travel goes, is different, and likely open to
And BTW, the airlines and hotels have re-established
their cancellation policies and those flight insurance companies are no
longer honoring border closings.
So if you get stuck coming or going, good
luck to you.